The Federal Government has announced a $292 million contract for the supply of more than 147,000t of high quality steel rail, including 110,000t for Inland Rail.

The contract has been signed between the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and South Australian company Liberty Primary Steel. 

The contract will also support upgrades between Narrabri and Turrawan, a vital connection between Inland Rail and the Hunter Valley coal network, and the Southern Highlands line in New South Wales.

This announcement follows the $143 million contract that Inland Rail signed with Austrak last month to supply more than 1.3 million concrete sleepers for Inland Rail – representing $435 million in combined investment in the Inland Rail network.

ARTC CEO and Managing Director, Mark Campbell, said ARTC was continuing to support Australian manufacturing at a time when the nation continued to fight back against the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“This contract reinforces the investment in rail, including Inland Rail, which is supporting jobs and building efficient and strengthened supply chains for generations to come,” Mr Campbell said.

“Towns like Whyalla produce world-class products and we will be supplied with 147,000 tonnes of top-quality Australian made steel for the remainder of Australia’s transformational infrastructure project Inland Rail and to support ARTC’s operational requirements.”

This partnership with Liberty Primary Steel will support 1,500 jobs in coming years, providing a major boost for the nation and the Whyalla region.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the latest contract further highlights how Inland Rail is already benefiting Australia.

“Rail infrastructure keeps Australia moving and our economy growing, which is why we’re getting projects like Inland Rail done,” Mr Joyce said.

“Inland Rail will further strengthen our freight network, keeping supply chains open, providing exporters with better access to international markets and creating jobs and economic opportunities for businesses.

“This $292 million contract is a vote of confidence in Australian manufacturing, ensuring the high-quality steel needed to bring Inland Rail to life is made by Australians for the benefit of Australians.”

Finance Minister and Senator for South Australia, Simon Birmingham, said the multi-million dollar contract would be an enormous boost for Whyalla, delivering a pipeline of jobs and economic activity.

“South Australian-made steel is among the highest quality in the world, which makes it only right for it to be used for the construction of Inland Rail and our national freight network.

“The infrastructure we are delivering through ARTC, including Inland Rail, will benefit future generations and the industries that will drive this country forward,” Mr Birmingham said.

Liberty Primary Steel has previously supplied steel for Inland Rail, including contracts worth $51 million for the Parkes to Narromine and Narrabri to North Star sections of the project.

Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, said rail orders rolling into Whyalla is good news for the region.

“Those orders in the period soon after GFG Alliance took ownership were vitally important to the survival of the steelworks.

“In recent times the facility has returned to profit and I am confident this profitability will result in the investment we require to ensure the steelworks’ long-term viability,” Mr Ramsey said.

These continued government orders will help to ensure the future of steel manufacturing in Australia.

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