"A bombshell for the Illawarra."
The region's politicians have expressed their shock amid reports cost-cutting at BlueScope's Port Kembla steelmaking plant will see jobs go.
Most MPs spoken to by the Mercury urged the company to "come clean" about its future in the region.
"The uncertainty makes this a very difficult day for the Illawarra community," Keira MP Ryan Park said.
"Steelmaking at Port Kembla is a part of our history. Whenever we see speculation like this we know that it is very difficult not just on the families but also the associated businesses who rely on the steelmaking at BlueScope."
Mr Park said transparency was critical.
Cunningham MP Sharon Bird preferred not to speculate on the "game-changing approach" BlueScope touted in a press release.
"I've seen their statement and it's good they put something out. Across the community, people would appreciate that they've clarified the situation," she said.
"The important thing is, given the concerns this morning, they've made their position clear. That's the appropriate thing to do."
Shellharbour MP Anna Watson had a different view, saying the company's statement was "as clear as mud".
"This is a bombshell for the Illawarra and it is crucial that BlueScope management comes clean as a matter of urgency on precisely what its intentions are on the future of steelmaking in the region," Ms Watson said.
Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay said BlueScope would be "taking industrial relations back to the dark old ages" if it made cutting production costs the responsibility of its workers.
Ms Hay said she wasn't convinced the company's statement refuted the suggestion of closure or job losses.
Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones told the Mercury he spoke to BlueScope executives on Wednesday morning. "They assured me there were no plans to be exiting steelmaking [in the Illawarra], and I would be very concerned if this was the case," Mr Jones said.
"I expect the company to negotiate [with workers] in good faith."
Parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward also spoke to the company, saying he was told they were committed to the region.
He said it is a reminder that people should be buying Australian.
"If we want to support jobs in our region, it's important that we support local products," he said.
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