Whyalla’s city council anticipates its population will “explode” from 22,000 to 80,000 in the next 10 to 20 years as the regional South Australian centre embarks on an ambitious upgrade to its steelworks and local infrastructure.
- Whyalla steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta has signed off on $600 million worth of projects
- The council is predicting the town’s population will boom to 80,000
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a win for South Australia
At an event headlined by steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta, the council today announced a $45 million hotel will be built at the Whyalla foreshore, as well as a $145 million horticulture development and a $6 million recycling business.
Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance announced it had signed contracts worth more than $600 million, which the company said represented a “significant portion of the overall transformation cost”.
That investment includes a new rolling mill to be completed in partnership with Italian metal industry firm Danieli to boost annual steel production.
“We will increase production to 1.8 million tonnes, that is a fairly modest steel plant in the global context of steel,” Mr Gupta said.
“What is critical is value-added steel, we make things that add value so we can specialise in things we can sell at a good price to sustain the business.”
Prime Minister welcomes investment
Earlier Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the town as the “comeback” city of Australia.
“A city with a future, that’s where we are today, a city with a future,” Mr Morrison said.
“South Australia now has the highest level of business confidence in eight years.
“This is the turnaround state in South Australia, and this is the comeback city of Australia, when we’re talking about Whyalla.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten praised Mr Gupta’s interest in the region, in addition to the workers of Whyalla.
“Sometimes it takes someone from outside to remind us how lucky we are and what we need to do to invest ourselves in the future,” he said.
“I know the steelworkers of Australia, I know the steelworkers of Whyalla — you are highly skilled, you have coped with change… you’ve adapted to new technologies, you work in teams and you problem solve.”