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At least Whyalla steel back on the rails

TRAINS carrying steel rail for a major upgrade to South Australia’s rail network began departing Arrium’s steelworks in Whyalla in September, on a contract to supply tens of thousands of tonnes of rail over the next three years.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the steel leaving Whyalla would be used to replace old rail on the railway line from Adelaide to Tarcoola with heavier, stronger steel. The contract between the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the administrators of Arrium, KordaMentha, for about 73,000 tonnes of steel was officially handed over in Whyalla on September 8. 

“We are boosting the economy and saving money for freight companies by upgrading this 1,200km of rail to move more freight, faster between Adelaide and Tarcoola,” Mr Chester said.

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt said the Turnbull Government was committed to supporting South Australia’s steel sector and the workers at Arrium.

“In addition to using Arrium’s steel for the railway, we are supporting the industry by using Australian steel across our naval shipbuilding program and by strengthening Australia’s anti-dumping system," Mr Hunt said.

"And earlier this year the government approved a $49.2 million loan to Arrium which will be used to purchase equipment for the company’s iron ore operations near Whyalla. We want to set the right business environment to ensure Australian firms like Arrium can grow, prosper and be globally competitive.”

ARTC Chief Executive John Fullerton said ARTC had been busily finalising a careful, staged roll-out plan for the project, but had a focus on delivering early orders of steel.

“The existing rail between Adelaide and Tarcoola has been nearing its end of life and the new rail delivered by this contract will allow rail operators to carry heavier wagons of freight at faster speeds," Mr Fullerton said. “This means ongoing benefits from this project for Australian businesses and ultimately, consumers.”

The Australian Government is fully funding the re-railing of Adelaide to Tarcoola.

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