The pair are looking to ensure the Arrium plant continues to push out quality steel.
Whyalla is facing more uncertainty regarding the struggling Arrium steelmaking plant, since new administrators KordaMentha were appointed on Tuesday after a successful federal court order, sought by banks and the AWU (Australian Workers’ Union).
“The creditors have the right to appoint the firm they wish to represent them,” says previously appointed administrator Paul Billingham, of Grant Thornton.
South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis just wants to get on with finding a solution for the 1,600 Arrium workers, in South Australia’s third most populous city.
“I don’t think there is any more uncertainty; just a further delay with the banks forcing a change of administrator,” Koutsantonis stated in Neos Kosmos.
Greek-born, acting Whyalla mayor Tom Antonio met with the KordaMentha on Wednesday morning.
Antonio’s wish is for the administrator to collaborate with state and federal governments to ensure the Arrium plant continues to push out the quality steel that Whyalla produces, while he insists that the federal government should encourage all state governments to use Australian steel for all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects.
“The community was initially concerned about the change, but after my meeting with KordaMentha, I feel that they can follow on from the good work Grant Thornton has produced,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
“We shouldn’t be buying steel from overseas,” Antonio points out, at a time when a lot has been said about importing and using foreign steel for major construction projects in South Australia, such as the new Royal Adelaide Hospital construction project.
Koutsantonis, on the other hand, is adamant.
“All our infrastructure is built using South Australian or Australian steel.
“They only time we import steel is if the steel required is not manufactured in Australia or unavailable,” he says.
Whyalla is known as the ‘Steel City’ due to its integrated steelworks and shipbuilding heritage, while the port of Whyalla has been exporting iron ore since 1903. Unfortunately, according to Tom Antonio, the city has already been affected tremendously by the Arrium crisis, experiencing up to 30 per cent drop in real estate value.
“Arrium is a lifeline for the community and has been the backbone of the South Australian economy for the last 100 years.
“Arrium and Whyalla are too big to be left to fail and the economic and social impact would be catastrophic if it’s allowed to happen,” warns Antonio. “Closure is not an option.”
Furthermore, Leader of the House and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, scheduled a door-stop on Wednesday at his electorate office in Adelaide together with Assistant Minister for Science Karen Andrews, regarding steel anti-dumping.
And it doesn’t end there.
Adelaide Crows Football Club has also shown its support towards the Whyalla community by conducting school visits to eight schools across three days this week, preaching wellbeing and positive messages to more than 1,600 children, as part of the club’s schools program, ‘Growing with Gratitude’.
“It just made sense to get up there as quickly as possible, to get our community team into some cars and into the trenches in Whyalla,” said the club’s CEO, Andrew Fagan, in his statement to the local press.