Greens Senate Candidate for South Australia, Emeritus Professor Barbara Pocock, has joined Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today to announce the Greens would invest $200 million to kickstart Whyalla’s green steel industry. The commitment is part of a national CEFC-like Green Metals bank to finance a new green metals industry across Australia, a vital component of the Greens’ plan to transition away from coal and gas and build things in Australia instead of shipping raw materials overseas.
The Whyalla region would be a chief beneficiary of the policy, alongside the Illawarra and Pilbara. The half a billion dollar national Green Steel Innovation Fund, delivered in conjunction with the $5.9 billion Green Metals Australia, would foster industrial growth in Whyalla, Pilbara, and the Illawarra, three areas with significant existing iron and steel industries and opportunities for growth.
Whyalla would receive up to $200m of the total pool over the next five years with billions more in loans, equity and co-investment available to repurpose existing industrial infrastructure to use locally-produced hydrogen to create green steel for exports and for domestic projects like high speed rail and electricity transmission towers.
The steel industry is a major consumer of coal. By developing green steel technology, the role currently played by coal in steel manufacturing can be replaced by hydrogen made with renewable energy. Major global steel manufacturers like SSAB in Sweden have already begun work on converting their steel operations to hydrogen.
Under the Greens’ plan to transition coal workers into new green industry, the coking coal industry would be phased out by 2040 as Australia and the world transitions to green steel.
Lines attributable to Greens SA Senate Candidate Emeritus Professor Barbara Pocock:
“Australia should be a nation that manufactures things again.
“The resilient people of Whyalla have had to fight off repetitive threats of job losses. I know as a labour economist that we can secure their future with a plan that invests in the green technologies that will power their future, and create good jobs for the kids of the region while helping protect our planet.
“Whyalla knows steel, and we need to make the most of the expertise in this city to build a steel industry powered by sun and wind and fueled by renewable hydrogen.
“Industrial regions like Whyalla have the most to gain from the green energy revolution.
“The $500 million Green Steel Innovation Fund will reduce our dependence on coal, allowing us to stop Liberal and Labor’s 114 new coal and gas projects in the investment pipeline and take the climate action required to keep Australians safe.
“Other nations are already investing in green steel, this is the time for Australia to step up and put Whyalla at the forefront of the global transition to green steel.
Lines attributable to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
“The major parties are offering nothing to young people. They’re leaving us with a rapidly deteriorating climate, they’re failing to invest in job-creating green industries, and they’re not ensuring secure work opportunities.
“South Australia can tackle all these issues by creating a new, sustainable industry. Instead of shipping out ore, then buying back steel, we can do it all in Australia. Turning Whyalla into a green steel powerhouse will create thousands of jobs, while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
“Whyalla is perfectly placed to be a major green steel manufacturer and export hub - we have our existing transport infrastructure and we have the expertise to bring this new industry to life.
“The Greens have a plan to move past fossil fuels, and Whyalla is critical to that plan.”