Australian railway contract keeps furnaces firing at Whyalla steel mill

Media Release


08 September 2016

Joint release with:

Greg Hunt

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Rowan Ramsey

Federal Member for Grey

The first train carrying steel rail for a major upgrade to South Australia's rail network departed Arrium's steelworks in Whyalla this afternoon, starting a contract to supply tens of thousands of tonnes of rail over the next three years.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the steel leaving Whyalla today would be used to replace old rail on the railway line from Adelaide to Tarcoola with heavier, stronger steel.

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

The newly executed contract between the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the administrators of Arrium, KordaMentha, for approximately 73,000 tonnes of steel was officially handed over in Whyalla today.

Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey was in Whyalla today to see the first order of steel be shipped from Arrium's steelworks.

“The contract helps secure an order of steel worth tens of millions of dollars, providing added volume through the Whyalla Steelworks and creating up to 130 direct and indirect local jobs on the re-railing project,” Mr Ramsey said.

“By supporting the Whyalla steelworks we are also supporting thousands of local jobs in Whyalla and the Peninsula. This project is a direct injection into the local economy while also securing our state's strategic manufacturing capability—the Coalition Government is getting things moving and securing jobs.”

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt said the Turnbull Government is 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.