Funding deal crucial in sale

DEAL: The Australian Workers Union are calling on the government to support Arrium's preferred bidder, which requires assistance to cover maintenance costs.
DEAL: The Australian Workers Union are calling on the government to support Arrium's preferred bidder, which requires assistance to cover maintenance costs.

The Australian Workers' Union is calling on the state and federal governments to save Whyalla by working constructively to meet the requirements of the preferred bidder for Arrium.

A Korean Consortium led by Newlake Alliance and backed by POSCO Steel was named as the preferred bidder for Arrium on Wednesday, beating out UK-based company Liberty House.

According to the AWU, the Korean Consortium requires government commitment to meeting some maintenance costs while the company invests $1.4 billion into building the FINEX steelworks and an off-gas power plant. 

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said it was a deal that both the state and federal governments should ‘absolutely make’.

“It is the national interest for Arrium's operations, especially in Whyalla, to stay running,” he said.

“The cooperative efforts of all major stakeholders have brought Arrium and Whyalla to the brink of salvation, but it’s up to government to go the last mile.

"As the legal representative of over 2000 Arrium workers I am extremely encouraged by the important step we have taken in settling on a preferred bidder," he said.

“Through the continued cooperation of union employees, Arrium’s creditors, and the administrator, a positive outcome is now eminently achievable.

“Australian steel has a viable, prosperous future, and can continue to support thousands of excellent jobs, along with whole communities. But that will only happen if our government is willing to support industry. 

"If the SA and federal governments can work together to get us over this final hurdle, they can ensure an advanced steelworks for Whyalla and the nation for at least the next 30 years and beyond."