Family & Divorce

Arrium sale a fresh start for Whyalla in more ways than one

THE Arrium steelworks sale not only galvanises Whyalla’s economic future, it gives new hope of a fresh start to those who have been living in limbo due to divorce and death, according to a leading Adelaide law firm.

Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers partner Jane Miller said when Whyalla’s economy and property market crashed many relationships went with it. But the glut of properties already listed meant many couples found it difficult to sell or refinance the family home and go their separate ways because banks wouldn’t agree to sales where the original loan now exceeded the realistic sale price.

It left many separated couples with no choice but to continue to live uncomfortably together under the same roof.

“Financial hardship is one of the biggest contributors to divorce – this has been magnified in Whyalla in recent years,” Ms Miller said.

“The inability to sell or refinance the matrimonial home in this downturned market has meant many have been unable to move on with their lives – causing an enormous amount of stress in already difficult times.

“Similarly, deceased estates have been forestalled, meaning grieving families have been unable to unlock the valuable, often much-needed, inheritance left to them by departed loved ones as they have been tied up in property.”

The large number of properties already on the market has meant some have even struggled to list their property if they did decide to try and cut their losses.

Now, with 5500 jobs saved and the town’s economic future locked in, there is renewed hope the property market will rebound and people will soon be able to sell up and move on with their lives.

“The Arrium sale offers a glimmer of hope that better economic times are coming,” Ms Miller said.

“It is good news not only for the city’s economy, but to all of those who have had to put their life on hold in the meantime.”

State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis reflected the sentiment when speaking to media following the announcement of the sale last week, saying it gave the town “clear air”.

“This city is completely linked to the operations of the steelworks,” he said.

“Think of the pressure that this community has been under. There have been divorces, financial stress and strain, redundancies. We finally now have clear air.”