Editorial February 27 2018

As The Divinyls once wrote in song “it is a fine line between pleasure and pain”.

While undoubtedly Chrissy Amphlett had something completely different in mind when she sang those words, they could be equally applied to the Illawarra’s own steelworks.

It wasn’t long ago, this masthead and the community were campaigning and campaigning hard for the future of the steelworks. It needed hard change to remain a viable entity.

Yet on Monday, it was part of BlueScope announcing a $516.8 million half-year profit before tax.

It was the third third-straight half-year profit over $500 million.

As part of that, the Australian Steel Products section, which includes the Port Kembla steelworks, remains in the black.

That is important.

It is too easy and too simple for people to quickly jump to the conclusion that the pain steelworkers went through in losing colleagues and wages was all for nothing.

The company had said all along the pain was to get the business into a viable position again.

BlueScope CEO Mark Vassella, a man who helped lead that restructure of the steelworks operations, reiterated that point again on Monday.

“The work that’s been done in 2011-12 and again in 2015 to ensure that we’ve got that base right means that the business is actually doing okay,” Mr Vassella said.

“We don’t want to be in a position again where the future is at risk.”

Mr Vassella noted the steelworks is now in a position to start hiring again.

That news should be welcomed.

Whereas once we wondered if the flame of the Port Kembla steelworks would remain lit, it’s firmly ablaze for at least the foreseeable future.

Along with that so is steelmaking in this country.

The Port Kembla steelworks helped forge this now diverse economic region.

That should never be forgotten or taken for granted.

Long may steelmaking in the Illawarra remain and thanks to those workers who ultimately allowed for this change to take place along with the leadership of the company.

The Port Kembla steelworks and BlueScope alike now certainly appear “steeled for the future”.


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