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Steel plan pushed as Arrium admin visits Whyalla

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The new lead administrator of troubled steel and mining company Arrium is set to meet staff and management in Whyalla.

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KordaMentha’s Mark Mentha will also meet the town’s mayor and local government officials during the visit today.

He’s expected to hold talks with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and federal industry minister Christopher Pyne in Adelaide on Friday.

Meanwhile, federal Labor has released a six-point steel plan that it will take to the next election.

It will seek to maximise the use of Australian-produced steel in government-funded projects.

“A Labor government led by myself will do everything we can to make sure that we keep making steel in Australia,” leader Bill Shorten told reporters during a visit to Bluescope Steel in the Illawarra region of NSW on Thursday.

However, the plan stops short of mandating the use of Australian steel on taxpayer-funded projects.

Other measures include maintaining quality standards, halving the threshold for companies to submit an Australian industry participation plan for projects, and strengthening anti-dumping provisions.

A Labor government would also set up a national steel supplier advocate.

“What we need is an advocate for the steel industry to make sure Australian steel is getting the best story told about it possible,” Shorten said.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne responded quickly to that part of Labor’s plan.

“I’m Australia’s Steel Advocate – that’s the job of the industry minister. Labor wants to downgrade that role to a public servant,” he tweeted.

Shorten’s visit follows a decision last week by mining and steelmaking group Arrium to call in administrators.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to say whether the issue of cheap Chinese steel will be on the agenda when he meets officials in Beijing during a two-day visit.

AAP

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