Closure impact a grim possibility

South Australia will lose more than $750 million and 5000 jobs if the Whyalla steelworks is forced to close.
South Australia will lose more than $750 million and 5000 jobs if the Whyalla steelworks is forced to close.

If a new collection of staggering statistics is anything to go by, closure of the Whyalla steelworks is certainly not an option.

An impact assessment has found that closing the Whyalla Steelworks would lead to the loss of 5000 jobs across South Australia and cost the state's economy as much as $770 million

The analysis, from Flinders University’s  Australia Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI), shows that 4000 jobs could be lost in the Eyre Peninsula region alone.

Whyalla’s  economy would also shrink between $490 million and $530 million in gross regional product.

AITI director John Spoeher said jobs lost in steel making would affect other important industries.

“For every three jobs lost directly in region at the steelworks, the mine, and in transport linked to these operations, there will be another one job lost within the Whyalla region in areas such as retail trade, health and education and recreation and personal services,” he said.

“It’s always a shock to see how big the impact of the closure of a big company like Arrium is on a relatively small town like Whyalla, because Arrium represents such a large proportion of workforce almost every local family is impacted in some way by the existence.”

“It does worry me, if it were to close it would be devastating for Whyalla.”

A local senate inquiry into the steel industry held in April determined that closing the steelworks would be three times as costly as keeping the plant open.