The South Australian government and SA senator Nick Xenophon have urged the new federal government to secure the long-term future of the Whyalla steelworks.
Industry minister Chris Pyne told an ABC interviewer yesterday that the steelworks, which were loss-making when Arrium went into administration in April, had stabilised and were in no need of further assistance.
During the election campaign, the Coalition pledged $49.2 million in loans to Arrium, and federal Labor $100 million in loans and grants. The SA government committed $50 million in last week’s budget.
Yesterday the Coalition clinched a 76-seat majority needed to form government.
SA premier Jay Weatherill called an assessment that the steelworks were saved “premature”. He urged the new government to secure Arrium’s survival, and to assist around 300 Holden Elizabeth workers who would lose their jobs in October.
Xenophon, whose team has saving Arrium at the top of a list of post-election priorities, said, “Minister Pyne’s assessment fails to take into account the concerns expressed by the administrator for the long-term viability of the plant. What has been proposed to date are essentially stop-gap measures.”
Recently, administrators said they had removed $300 million from the steelworks’ operating costs.