Mark Cain

A message from the Chief Executive – January 2023

Steel Excellence Awards 

The feature of this edition of steel Australia magazine is the Australian Steel Excellence Awards. Held every two years, the awards celebrate and recognise innovative steel projects, designs and people. They highlight collaboration throughout the Australian steel supply chain—from architects, structural engineers, and building contractors, through to steel fabricators and steel detailers—using steel as the primary building product. 

A gala event at Doltone House in Sydney saw 26 state and territory winners (from an initial field of 85) vie for national honours in six categories. The National winners were:

  • Buildings (Large Projects): Allianz Stadium
  • Buildings (Small Projects): Memorial Drive Tennis Centre’s Sunken Show Court Roof
  • Innovative Cold Form Steel Building: Grattan Street Façade
  • Steel Clad Structures: CSIRO Clean Lab
  • Engineering Projects: 308 Exhibition Street Sky Bridge 
  • Young Designer, Detailer or Tradesperson: Shannon Kieran

I would like to congratulate this year’s national and state winners and finalists. I would also like to thank all of our judges and sponsors, without whom the awards would not have possible. 

Steel Sustainability Australia

The ASI is transitioning the longstanding Environmental Sustainability Charter (ESC) to the Steel Sustainability Australia (SSA) certification program. The SSA program engages the entire steel value chain by verifying upstream steel producers supplying the steel feedstock and certifying the downstream suppliers against best practice environmental, social and governance.

The SSA scheme is an approved initiative under the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Responsible Product Framework, enabling SSA certified steel suppliers to contribute a number of credit points towards a Green Star Buildings rating. The SSA program considers a holistic view of sustainability, including aspects such as modern slavery, ethical work practices, health and safety in manufacturing, and carbon emissions and waste management, whilst retaining existing environmental sustainability elements. The ESC will be ready to certify from early 2023.

A key element of the new SSA program is the recognition of the importance of sourcing steel from producers with a commitment to decarbonising their manufacturing process. The SSA Program is a recognised initiative under the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Responsible Products Framework (RPF). Certification to each SSA level have corresponding Responsible Product Values (RPVs) that meet the requirements of the 4 Green Star Responsible Products Credits under the ‘Responsible’ category in the Green Star Buildings rating tool.

For further details, visit steelsustainability.com.au or contact Jerusha Beresford (Sustainability Manager, ASI) on ssa@steel.org.au.

Ban on export of unprocessed scrap steel

The ASI, in partnership with the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC), along with representatives from the local scrap recycling industry and steel producers met with the Federal Government in Canberra in late 2022. The purpose of the meeting was to put the case directly to legislators, for banning the export of unprocessed steel scrap.

The interaction also provided an opportunity to present an overview of the key issues for the steel industry along with industry plans to decarbonise. With the potential for this ban to facilitate an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tonnes CO2, the benefits are very significant.

A focus on steel careers

The ASI is exploring a range of new resources and initiatives to help encourage the next generation of workers to consider a career in steel.

In the ACT, the ASI is collaborating with Marist College Canberra to promote the opportunities for careers in steel, initially focused on steel detailing. As an interim measure, the ASI provided the school with access to a range of short promotional videos. ASI is working on a short form brochure that can be made available to careers advisors in the medium term, with a view to developing an appealing careers-in-steel video.

In Tasmania, we recently met with a number of fabricators to explore ways to attract young Year 10 and 11 high school students into steel trades. Like most states and territories, Tasmanian fabricators have plenty of work but not enough skilled labour. The ASI is considering a range of opportunities, including working with the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC) on some industry wide initiatives.

A ‘Careers in Steel’ page is being considered for the ASI website, backed by the appropriate marketing collateral and promotional tools.

South Australia steel skills strategy

As part of a multi-faceted strategy for building the skills pipeline in South Australia, the ASI is working closely with local members to define the needs of the steel industry. Additional participants include secondary schools with a focus on vocational training, and technical colleges that are active in delivering training for trades such as fabrication and engineering. The state government is also very supportive and committed to aligning funded places with industry defined requirements for curriculum and the number of apprentice positions.

An initial focus area for the strategy is to raise the awareness with school students, of the career opportunities available in the wider steel industry. This has seen the ASI partner with South Australian members at a recent career expo, with more planned. The development of targeted marketing resources is being planned, which will help to reach teachers, students and parents with appealing career opportunity information.

If you would like to know more about this strategy, contact Sulfianda Soeleiman (Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania State Manager, ASI) via sulfiandas@steel.org.au.

ASI team update 

Michael Dawson (Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania State Manager, and ESC National Manager) finished with the ASI at the end of 2022, after four years’ service. Michael was a real asset to our team, leading the ASI’s major sustainability strategies, and initiating steel policy changes with the Victorian Government. Michael is taking some well-deserved rest and recreation. On behalf of all his colleagues at the ASI, I wish Michael all the very best.

I would also like to welcome Sulfianda Soeleiman to the team, who is stepping into the role of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania State Manager. An experienced senior executive, Sulfi was the deputy executive director for the Housing Industry Association (HIA) in New South Wales. He also has significant experience in the steel industry, including 10 years at BlueScope, most recently as their manager international markets – planning and coated steel exports. Prior to this, he tackled several roles at BHP, including in marketing, logistics and as a senior research engineer. 

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