SA premier heads to Whyalla

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill will continue to talk up the state’s fortunes with a visit to Whyalla to mark the successful sale of the Arrium steelworks.


Mr Weatherill was in Jamestown on Sunday to see the site where billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will build the world’s largest lithium ion battery.

On Monday he will meet Arrium workers and community leaders in Whyalla, just days after British businessman Sanjeev Gupta signed a deal to take over the steel operations, essentially saving 1500 jobs.

The two announcements at the back end of last week have been hailed by the Labor government as evidence international investors have no problems bringing business to SA despite concerns expressed over the proposed introduction of a new tax on the big banks.

Mr Weatherill says the 100-megawatt battery, to be delivered within 100 days by Mr Musk’s company Tesla or delivered free, will not only help stabilise the state’s energy grid, it will provide jobs for local businesses, especially in the tourist sector.

“At many levels, this represents a massive job creation opportunity for this state,” the premier said.

The battery is just one part of South Australia’s $550 million energy plan which was developed in response to last year’s statewide blackout.

It will be built near Jamestown, in SA’s mid north and paired to a wind farm operated by French utility company Neoen.

Other elements of the energy plan include attracting new gas-fired generation into the market, increased gas exploration and the construction of a new government-owned, gas-fired power station.

After his trip to Whyalla, Mr Weatherill is expected to meet Mr Gupta in Adelaide later this week.