A new chapter for Whyalla was written on Friday, with the community coming together to celebrate the rebirth of Arrium and the local steelworks.
Hundreds of people marched proudly from Wilson Park down to the Ada Ryan Gardens in an eye-catching display of ‘we’ve done it!’
While the company is no longer called Arrium, if the confidence and extensive planning of new owner Sanjeev Gupta is anything to go by, Liberty OneSteel has a bright future.
Speaking after the march into Ada Ryan Gardens had finished, Mr Gupta looked back on what may have become of Arrium had there not been a spectacular effort by the administrators, governments, and workers.
“This asset was marked for closure, it wouldn’t have stayed open and allowed us to come and do what we’ve done without the resilience of the community and their refusal to give up.
“It’s a good asset but it needs investment and support. All of that takes time and they bought us this time with their resilience.”
Mr Gupta said the display of positivity by the community was ‘endearing’.
“The feeling here is very similar to what we had back in the UK. The will and the desire of the community and the workers to survive and make their business thrive was very strong,” he said.
“Their support is paramount and I am very happy to see that reinforced again and again.”
Mr Gupta will be planning to achieve a lot in his first 100 days as CEO of Liberty Onesteel.
“During these first 100 days we will look very hard to cement our initial plans which have already been made. There’s a long list of investments,” he said.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the real heroes of the company’s journey to becoming Liberty OneSteel were the workers.
“Those workers made sacrifices of their wages, conditions and they also had to deal with the incredible uncertainty of this administration which went on for 18 months,” he said.
Former Administrator Mark Mentha who guided the company through a very dark period, said there was a sense of excitement in the steel city.
“You can see the sense of aspiration in the town.”