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Government Federal, Manufacturing

Pour Decision? Wine Triumphs at the Cost of Wind Towers

Weld Australia 3 mins read

 With the Albanese Government seemingly sacrificing wind towers for wine, Weld Australia is calling on the Federal Government to mandate: a minimum of 60% local content by kilogram of steel for every wind tower erected in Australia; and that every wind tower erected in Australia is constructed, erected and inspected according to Australian Standards.

China has agreed to review its tariffs on Australian wine after a breakthrough in negotiations over the weekend. Prime Minister Albanese announced that Australia and China had agreed to suspend their long-running World Trade Organization dispute while Beijing undertakes an “expedited review” of duties, which is expected to take five months.

Beijing slapped trade sanctions on $20 billion worth of Australian products at the height of a diplomatic feud in 2020, including tariffs of between 107% and 212% on Australian wine.

However, at the same time, the Anti-Dumping Commission quietly released a report recommending that tariffs on Chinese wind towers expire on 16 April 2024—the Federal Government appears to be sacrificing wind towers for wine.

According to Geoff Crittenden (CEO, Weld Australia), “The lifting of China’s tariffs on Australian wine is most certainly welcome news for our economy; Australian wine exports to China were valued at more than $1 billion before the tariffs were put in place. That figure has plunged to just $12 million over the last two years.”

“However, the success of Australia’s local wine industry cannot come at the cost of manufacturing. The Albanese Government has repeatedly confirmed that Australia’s transition to renewable energy is a prime opportunity to revitalise manufacturing. The Federal Government has confirmed that sovereign manufacturing capability is strategically important, and that Australia cannot continue to rely on overseas supply chains.”

“And yet, suspending the tariffs on Chinese wind tower imports demonstrates just how heavily the Federal Government is willing to compromise.”

 Weld Australia is calling on the Albanese Government to mandate:

  • a minimum of 60% local content by kilogram of steel for every wind tower erected in Australia
  • that every wind tower erected in Australia is constructed, erected and inspected according to Australian Standards

“The Federal Government must commit to building sovereign manufacturing capability for renewable energy and, through the national cabinet, get agreement from the states to legislate local content policy—in a real, effective way. This will create a capacity mechanism that generates a clear, long-term signal for investment by private equity and local manufacturers,” said Crittenden.

“For example, the Victorian Renewable Energy Target legislation required 64% local content. However, the definition of local content was far too broad to generate tangible benefits for local manufacturers—it encompassed everything from marketing through to environmental studies. This is why we are calling specifically for a minimum of 60% local content by kilogram of steel for every wind tower erected in Australia. Given the huge scale of demand, local content need not be 100%. With this long-term demand a reality, local manufacturers will have the confidence improved production efficiencies and stability of supply can improve competitiveness.”

“The Federal Government must also mandate that all wind towers are constructed, erected and inspected according to Australian Standards. The quality of Chinese wind towers dumped in Australia is extremely suspect. Any imported wind towers must be properly inspected at the port of departure—not landing. Weld Australia is well aware of several hundred wind towers in Australia that do not comply with Australian Standards and are unsafe,” said Crittenden.

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About us:

ABOUT WELD AUSTRALIA

Weld Australia represents the welding profession in Australia. Its members are made up of individual welding professionals and companies of all sizes. Weld Australia members are involved almost every facet of Australian industry and make a significant contribution to the nation’s economy. The primary goal of Weld Australia is to ensure that the Australian welding industry remains locally and globally competitive, both now and into the future. Weld Australia is the Australian representative member of the International Institute of Welding (IIW). For more information or to join Weld Australia, please visit: www.weldaustralia.com.au.


Contact details:

Sally Wood on 0434 442 687 or sally@wordly.com.au

Geoff Crittenden (CEO, Weld Australia) on g.crittenden@weldaustralia.com.au or 0439 944 033

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