The city of Whyalla is making a comeback and there's a renewed sense of optimism about its future. GFG Alliance has announced a feasibility study into a new steel plant that would become one of the biggest of its kind in the world, creating hundreds of job opportunities for locals.
I acknowledge that we gather today on the traditional land of the Barngarla people, and I respect their spiritual relationship with their country
Thank you Sanjeev and the GFG Alliance for inviting me to take part in today’s Big Reveal celebrations.
I am delighted to be back in Whyalla with so many familiar faces and some new visitors to our State.
Firstly, congratulations to Mayor McLaughlin on your election to this important role in the life of a regional city.
My Government looks forward to working with you and your council to achieve your ambitions for your community.
I know you and your council have big plans for Whyalla to build on the investment the South Australian Government has already earmarked for a new Whyalla High School.
The $100 million secondary school in Nicolson Avenue will accommodate the first of its 1,500 Year 7 to 12 students in 2022 when it replaces three ageing high schools.
Its location between the UniSA and TAFE campuses will provide students with a strong link to further study options.
The closing of the three high school campuses also opens up new opportunities for development across Whyalla to align with the transformation planned by GFG.
Confidence in the future of this whole region continues to grow.
Just last week, the SIMEC Mining team announced that an exploration campaign GFG helped fund has identified a significant iron ore basin in the Mid-North.
I understand a 13-hole drilling program conducted by Havilah Resources with the support of SIMEC Mining successfully intersected a consistently thick iron formation in multiple drill holes in an area covering at least 3.5 square kilometres.
SIMEC Mining’s exclusivity over the Maldorky and Grants projects ends at the end of this month but I understand discussions are continuing on a possible extension.
The Government looks forward to further good news as you work with Havilah Resources to better understand the Grants and Maldorky prospects.
Last week’s announcement is a timely reminder of this State’s substantial iron ore assets, both in haematite and magnetite.
Of course, mining iron ore to make Australian steel has been at the heart of this city’s existence since the first ore was taken from Iron Knob.
In its 117-year existence, this community has experienced its ups and downs.
But, its resilience its resilience has become an inspiration to us all.
The first iron ore was shipped from here in 1903 and Whyalla remains a substantial exporter to global markets.
The city’s wide streets and expansive lay out are testament to its founders’ ambitions.
Whyalla’s prospects have ebbed and flowed over time but there is a spirit here in this city that is remarkable.
Today’s Big Reveal foreshadows a new stage in the development of Whyalla.
I welcome China CISDI Engineering’s interest in participating in the projects here in Whyalla and congratulate you in anticipation of today’s signing.
We welcome foreign investment in South Australia and our State has long-held warm relations with China as reflected by the opening of a consulate office in Adelaide in January 2016.
Similarly, we welcome the participation of Danieli and the SMS Group in the Whyalla Transformation.
To have two major European steel technology suppliers attend today’s Big Reveal signifies the global attention that GFG has brought to South Australia since its acquisition of the former Arrium assets.
Thank you and again congratulations to Sanjeev and his family and the GFG Alliance team here in Whyalla.
Today’s event is confirmation of the renewed confidence in Whyalla and its community after a challenging few years.
My Government is backing this city all the way.
We welcome investment in major infrastructure projects that create jobs in the local community and contribute to the State’s economic growth.
We share your confidence in the future of Whyalla.
The Steel Task Force, established in 2015, continues to work with GFG and the Commonwealth Government to facilitate the Whyalla Transformation.
I appreciate the city’s ongoing cooperation with the Task Force and the collaborative spirit in which you have engaged with the team.
The South Australian Government has committed to provide $50 million to support the future sustainability of the Whyalla steelworks, subject to due diligence on its business case.
Funding preconditions include local industry participation and the development of an open access Whyalla port.
That $50 million in funding remains locked in the State budget.
The South Australian Government has adopted substantial measures to support the Australian steel industry.
South Australia was an early mover in the adoption of Australian standards for steel products and steel fabrication as part of government procurement policies.
The Commonwealth Government has in turn embraced similar standards for its procurement policies.
When the Australian steel market was under threat from unfair imports, South Australia led the campaign to have the Anti-Dumping Commission investigate these practices and introduce measures to ensure fair trade.
We continue to pursue a strategy to support the development of the State’s magnetite assets.
More than 90% of South Australia's iron ore is magnetite located in several prospective areas of the State, stretching from the Eyre Peninsula and the Middleback Ranges to the Braemar province in the Mid-North.
South Australia produces about 3 million tonnes of magnetite for domestic use and export with SIMEC Mining a leader in this field.
This State has various magnetite projects in different stages of development and again SIMEC Mining and the Port of Whyalla will undoubtedly play a key role in bringing that product to the world market.
If South Australia can capitalise on these deposits and increase the output of magnetite exported each year there will be significant opportunities for economic growth and jobs in the supply chain around this industry.
GFG continues to enjoy a royalty-free status for magnetite sourced from South Australia’s Middleback Ranges and fed into the steelworks.
The Whyalla Steel Works currently produce about 1 million tonnes a year of steel, representing a major proportion of the total Australian market for long products.
We appreciate and acknowledge the steps taken by the mining operations and steelworks to reduce dramatically fugitive red dust.
This has provided the community with the certainty required to reinvigorate the city and invest in gardens and parks.
Since 2009, the city has invested in a long-term redevelopment of the Whyalla foreshore, which links to the popular Ada Ryan Gardens.
A $3 million investment to develop the marina and boat launching facility has opened the door to new opportunities in marine tourism.
The marina development has also enabled the opening of Northern Beach to swimming.
Strengthening of the southern breakwater, will create further opportunities to develop the jetty, a development that the State Government has already pledged $1 million to support.
Without pre-empting the decision of the State Commission Assessment Panel, the loop design of the new 165-metre jetty will provide Whyalla with something unique.
I understand that GFG Alliance has kindly offered to donate the steel required for this jetty project.
Having grown up in Ethelton close to the beach, I appreciate the close relationship many South Australians have to the water and our coastline. That is no different here in Whyalla.
Swimming, fishing and boating are important parts of the life of this city.
Recent developments ensure locals and visitors alike can better appreciate the many wonderful aspects to life in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
This investment in Whyalla would not have been possible without the growing consensus that this city has a long and viable future.
The undertakings to be made today by GFG and your partners, CISDI, Danieli and the SMS Group reinforce that optimism.
Thank you again for this opportunity to attend today’s signing ceremonies and re-affirm the continuing support of the South Australian Government to this great city.
I look forward to further announcements as SIMEC Mining and Liberty Steel push forward with their designs for Whyalla and regional South Australia.
My Government, through the Steel Task Force, stands ready to discuss with you the practicalities involved in delivering your vision for the Steelworks.