OneSteel – Whyalla Steel Works

Rebuilding community trust after extensive public outrage 2004 - 2010

Katherine Teh-White

Managing Director

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The brief:

OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks (OneSteel) was granted an indenture licence by the Premier of South Australia in 2005 which did not require them to meet Environment Protection Authority conditions in relation to dust. As a result OneSteel faced a high level of outrage from regulatory and other government agencies, activist groups and the local Environment Consultation Group about its approach to managing dust. Futureye was asked to help OneSteel to rebuild trust with government agencies, the Whyalla community and local stakeholders in order to secure the company’s regulatory conditions and its social license to operate.

"Environmental issues at the pellet plant area are remarkably better, relationships are remarkably better and the future is remarkably more positive and hopeful for the dust effected community. Whilst there are some areas that OneSteel and I still strongly disagree on, the overall ambience and intent is one of bipartisanship."

Ted Kittel, Chairman of Whyalla Red Dust Action Group (WRDAG Inc.) and ECG Member

The result:

Futureye has helped OneSteel become more focused on strategic communications planning, using outrage mitigation to develop key messages and to strategically rebuild relationships. This process included strategic foresight processes, communication strategy, risk assessment, engagement model and process, a social impact assessment, media and issues management training, corporate social responsibility program, and an internal cultural change program. The outcome was the activist group shut itself down and declared the company was the most socially and environmentally responsible company in the world.

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