Senator Nick Xenophon had an hour-long meeting with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday, telling the PM that it is vital the country retains a steel industry.
The ABC reports that Nick Xenophon, whose Nick Xenophon Team is predicted to contribute three senators and one lower house member in a new parliament, said the meeting was constructive. The issue of Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks needed resolution sooner rather than later.
“I want to do my bit to make sure there is a good resolution, a positive resolution to ensure that Arrium survives, that it thrives and that it continues to be responsible for the employment of at least 6,000 people in Whyalla and on top of that a very important supply chain in the steel industry and for all those steel fabrication businesses around the country,” he told the ABC.
Liberal member for Grey – which takes in Whyalla – Rowan Ramsey is set to narrowly hold onto his seat.
At 10 am this morning, 72 lower house seats were held by the Coalition parties, 66 by Labor, five by others (including the NXT’s Rebekha Sharkie) and seven in doubt. A bare minimum of 76 is required to form government, which the Coalition is predicted to achieve with 81.7 per cent of Saturday’s votes counted.
The Coalition has pledged a $49.2 million loan to upgrade Arrium’s iron ore processing during the campaign. The Labor Party pledged $100 million in assistance in the form of a $50 million “Steel Reserve” direct grant program and $50 million in financing or loan guarantee.
The steel and iron ore business entered voluntary administration in April, owing over $4 billion. The dual-track sale of its profitable Moly-Cop grinding media business plus another company called Arrium Australia is set to begin this month.