The state government and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis have attacked SA Best Giles candidate Tom Antonio, calling him a ‘threat to business investment’ after obtaining a letter sent to the Whyalla City Council.
The letter, written by SSE Australia co-founder Colin Gillam in 2017, claims that the company was subject to accusations of being involved in a conspiracy or corruption by Mr Antonio and Adam Hammond.
According to the letter, Mr Antonio was behind a motion involving the online allegations made by Mr Hammond that there was conspiracy and corruption keeping him from developing a solar project in Whyalla.
SSE Australia has plans to invest $30 million into the steel city, and has employed 90 per cent local contractors to carry out the construction of their Whyalla Solar Project.
In the letter SSE Australia denied any wrong-doing and said they would take legal action to defend their reputation unless Mr Antonio and Mr Hammond publicly refuted the allegations or brought evidence to prove them.
“If you were the mayor when we started our investigations our company would have nothing to do with Whyalla,” Mr Gilliam wrote in reference to Mr Antonio.
“You seem prepared to throw away any positive investment opportunities for the sake of pursuing your petty vendetta on the current mayor simply because you weren’t elected mayor.”
Mr Koutsantonis called the letter a ‘damning indictment’ on Tom Antonio.
“To have a company like this indicate they would not have invested in Whyalla if Tom Antonio was in a leadership position represents a major threat to future investment in Whyalla if Mr Antonio is elected,” he said.
The Treasurer also claimed that the state government had to exclude Mr Antonio from their meetings during the Arrium administration because his ‘erratic’ behavior threatened to derail negotiations with purchasers.
Mr Antonio called the claims 'scurrilous unsubstantiated rubbish', saying that he had never received, nor had he seen a copy of the letter from SSE Australia sent to Whyalla Council in May last year.
“This is a new low and shows how desperate Labor is to knock off SA-BEST and its candidates," Tom said.
"It's interesting that I've only just seen this letter. You have to ask why it pops up just one week out from the election? What's in it is wrong. It is inaccurate, unfounded, and an attack on my reputation.
“The people of Whyalla know my track record in negotiations when it comes to protecting the steelworks, businesses and workers.”
Mr Antonio said Arrium Administrator Mark Mentha was on the public record in council meetings praising the work he had done during the administration.
“When the steel works was threatened with closure I stood up, with Nick Xenophon, and declared to all that closure wasn’t ever going to be an option,” he said.