14,500 new jobs secured for tradies

Planning approval has been given for a $182m upgrade of three 50-year-old berths at Port Kembla, which will create 100 new jobs and secure thousands more. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Planning approval has been given for a $182m upgrade of three 50-year-old berths at Port Kembla, which the NSW government says will support more than 14,500 jobs, plus 100 new jobs during the construction process.

Operated by BlueScope Steelworks, the improvements to the ageing berths are in-part needed to ensure import of coking coal for steel production beyond 2028, once local coal supplies are reduced.

BlueSCope steel
Three of the five berths at Port Kembla will be upgraded after the NSW Government approved the multi million-dollar plans. Picture: NSW Government

Depending on tendering processes, construction is expected to take about five years and is slated to start in early 2024.

With 70 per cent of Port Kembla’s output of steel used by the construction industry, Planning Minister Paul Scully said the “significant upgrade” would guarantee steel production in the area.

“The steel we produce in the Illawarra gets put into homes, schools, hospitals, transport infrastructure and hopefully in the not too distant future more of it will be used in renewable energy infrastructure,” he said.

“Steel has been produced in Port Kembla for nearly 100 years and this planning approval will help to make sure it continues long into the future.”

This follows Labor’s election commitment to increase domestic manufacturing in NSW, including the designing of and building of 1000 trains to replace the ageing Tangara fleet.

A NSW Jobs First Commission will also conduct an audit into the state’s domestic manufacturing capabilities.

BlueSCope steel
70 per cent of Port Kembla’s output of steel is used by the construction industry. Picture: NSW Government

Illawarra and the South Coast Minister Ryan Park said the upgrade was critical to the NSW economy and local community.

“Illawarra steel contributes around $10.3 billion to the NSW economy each year, and this decision secures the continued direct employment of around 4500 people, together with another 10,000 people in the supply chain,” Mr Park said.

“Steel supply certainty is vital for the home building industry as we work to fast-track ways to

supply new homes in the Illawarra, in Sydney and across the entire state.”

BlueScope’s Australian Chief Executive, Tania Archibald, said the project was a “significant” long-term investment into the steel industry.

“BlueScope operates five berths at Port Kembla to import a range of raw materials such as iron ore, coal, limestone, recycled steel scrap and export steel products to customers; the continued supply of these raw materials is critical to the operations of the steelworks,” she said.