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Weatherill to visit workers in Whyalla

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Premier Jay Weatherill is heading to Whyalla today for the first time since troubled steel and mining group Arrium entered administration.

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Weatherill is expected to meet workers at Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks alongside Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock.

Weatherill will also hold talks with administrators KordaMentha during the brief visit, his first since Arrium fell into administration in April.

The visit comes as the State Government prepares to announce a co-investment plan to help upgrade the ageing steelworks.

Koutsantonis has said the plan will be announced “very soon” but will not include planned upgrades to the Techport shipbuilding hub in Port Adelaide.

“Techport is its own business case and it stacks up on its own,” Koutsantonis said yesterday.

“(We are) talking with the successful proponents about what’s required at Techport. Once we get a final picture on that we’ll be moving very quickly.”

The upgrades at Techport are viewed by Arrium’s administrators as a major opportunity for the Whyalla steelworks to capitalise on SA’s huge pipeline of shipbuilding work.

Arrium is unlikely to make a large direct contribution to a local submarine build because it does not produce the flat steel normally used for the vessels.

The State Government has also announced it will offer interest-free loans of up to $750,000 to help keep Arrium’s SA-based suppliers afloat.

Some loans will be converted to grants where the government is advised there are special circumstances.

AAP

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