Centre Alliance to support Gupta

VISIT: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick (right) and candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot were in Whyalla to meet with local subcontractors last week.
VISIT: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick (right) and candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot were in Whyalla to meet with local subcontractors last week.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick recently met with GFG Alliance Chairman Sanjeev Gupta to discuss how his party could support his innovative plans for Whyalla should they hold the balance of power in the senate post-election.

Senator Patrick said Mr Gupta may require federal assistance for those plans, which include building a new state-of-the-art steel plant in Whyalla, and Centre Alliance may be able to lobby for that support.

"I'm very keen for the success of GFG here in Whyalla...if we have the balance of power in the Senate we would seek to support him," he said.

During Senate Estimates in February Senator Patrick asked Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann whether the federal government had provided any grant funding to GFG Alliance to support their investment.

The official response received was that 'to date, the Commonwealth has not received any request for funding from the GFG Alliance'.

During his meeting with Mr Gupta, Senator Patrick also raised the issue of payments to local contractors -which flared up in February when it was revealed some were owed as much as $500,000. GFG Alliance committed to paying all of the out-of-pocket contractors by March.

"I indicated to him that's it's really important that everyone wins out of this, and that means that subcontractors do get paid on time," Senator Patrick said.

"If (Mr Gupta) has any difficulties he's in the best position to understand what those difficulties might be. He needs to negotiate with the suppliers, but when he reaches an agreement with them he must honour it."

Senator Patrick and Centre Alliance candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot were in Whyalla last week to meet with a group of GFG subcontractors.

"I will be coming back between now and the federal election and Sanjeev has offered to give me a tour of the steelworks so I can see what needs to be upgraded," he said.

"I will accept that invitation."