Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — I rise to speak on the recent sale of the Arrium steelworks to the London‑based GFG Alliance. This deal has ended more than a year of uncertainty for the 5500 Australian workers employed by Arrium across Australia. This represents over 1000 jobs in Victoria, many of them in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region. Most of these jobs looked likely to be lost after Arrium fell into voluntary administration 15 months ago. The increasing financial pressure also meant that the mills were operating significantly below capacity, which meant less output and less jobs. Negotiations between the Australian Workers Union (AWU), Arrium and GFG resulted in the arrangement that will see Arrium’s steelworking operations secured. This outcome will also facilitate a significant increase in production to cater for the growing population and infrastructure needs of Melbourne.

I want to praise the hard work of the AWU for their excellent representation of the workers employed by Arrium. They achieved an impeccable outcome for their members and their families. I also want to commend the GFG executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, who has shown a resolute willingness to invest in Australia and Victoria. He recently visited one of the company’s operations in Sunshine and announced further investment in the Victorian operation.

Arrium’s future has also been solidified through the Victorian government’s support for local jobs, such as the requirement for 100 per cent local steel in level crossing removal projects and the increased demand emanating from the Melbourne Metro Tunnel transport project. The firm commitment to increase production at Arrium will lead to a stronger Victorian economy and more jobs for my local community. This arrangement will continue Victoria’s current trajectory as the jobs powerhouse of Australia.

21 September 2017