The definition of opportunity depending on where you look, can mean “a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something” or “an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do, or the possibility of doing something”
Given our situation in Whyalla, there are many opportunities that are being presented to us, some of which may be forced while others may be by choice or circumstance. Either way, as a community we have to look at these and create a plan and a path that will give us the best outcome for this community, based on what situation is being presented to us.
Although our situation with Arrium has created a lot of uncertainty, various opportunities are being presented to us as a community. For example, the Administrators are progressing through their processes, stabilizing the business, identifying cost saving initiatives and projects that will provide opportunities to improve the process efficiencies, so Arrium as a business, can meet the challenges of the global influences in a more robust way, creating a solid business with longevity for this community.
Another major opportunity is the need for diversification of our industry and employment base in this community. A negative situation, can promote a positive outcome and this is the need to focus on what opportunities we have been presented with or we can investigate.
The opportunities that are currently being presented to us, revolve around defence, solar, Muradel, Petro-Diamond Fuels, tourism, aged care and nuclear to name a few.
Some of these are already part of our community and may have further opportunity to expand, whilst others are in name or concept only.
If we look at the definitions again, then there is still a lot of work to be done around the opportunities we may have on our doorstep, but this means there has to be a very practical assessment of each proposal on its merit, its suitability and not only the economic or other benefits it will provide in the short and long term, but what we as a community can provide back to it, in terms of support.
For example, any new industry or business looking to potentially set up in Whyalla will have completed a feasibility study which includes establishment costs, infrastructure requirements in terms of services like power, water, freight costs, real estate investment and land taxes to name a few. Therefore to help attract new industries and business, those who are around the discussion table, could start ‘thinking out of the box’ on an approach to attract these potential new industries and businesses, through appropriate incentives and possible financial partnerships by way of subsidised land costs, through profit sharing and/or a fixed term financial arrangement.
Our community does have opportunity through a number of projects which will take us into the future however we do need to think about what this means to us and what we have to do to capture them. If we look forward to what possibilities Defence may bring through the building of submarines and other equipment, then our key organizations will need to work closely with not only government departments, but also with our local contractors and businesses to understand in the first instance, what is the overall scope of the Defence contracts and where do we believe we ‘fit’ as a supplier, what skills and or resources are required, what we can we supply (our capability) and what are the gaps we need to address, so we can successfully tender and supply a service to the customer.
In addition, we must also create the opportunity to manage our opportunities in a structured way to achieve the best outcomes for this community and this can be done through having one person for example, who is the conduit between major customers and projects, our businesses and our community.
It may not be clear in some people’s minds at this point, but Whyalla has an opportunity to move forward and create a new profile and future for itself. It is our task to understand the definition of opportunity and put it into action.