National Rail Manufacturing Plan

Labor’s National Rail Manufacturing Plan will ensure that more trains are built in Australia by local manufacturing workers and that every dollar of Federal funding spent on rail projects goes towards creating local jobs and protecting our rail industry. 

The plan is part of our Future Made in Australia policy and would include:

  • Establishing an Office of National Rail Industry Coordination (ONRIC) within the Department of Industry, to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains and develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next ten years. ONRIC will develop the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy in consultation with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, state governments, rail transport operators, rail unions and manufacturers, in accordance with Australia’s WTO obligations. One element of the Strategy will be that future Commonwealth grant funding for infrastructure projects will be contingent on the states and territories agreeing to be active partners in the development and implementation of the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy.

  • Reinstating the important role of the Rail Supplier Advocate cut by the Liberals in 2013 – to help small and medium-sized enterprises identify export opportunities and to get a foot in the door with government purchasing bodies.  Central to the Advocate’s role will be helping small and medium-sized enterprises market their products to government purchasing bodies and champion sectoral initiatives to improve competitiveness. The Advocate will also be tasked with helping Australian manufacturers finding export opportunities and to assess and provide advice on local content targets for rolling stock.

  • Establishing a Rail Industry Innovation Council – to prevent the loss of more jobs and address the need for more local research & development, skills and capabilities. The Rail Industry Innovation Council will have the role of transforming the Industry and addressing these issues of research & development, skills and capabilities.  The Rail Innovation Council will provide strategic advice on innovation priorities to the Minister; champion innovation in the industry; and build connections and collaborate with other innovation initiatives and organisations.

Over the next two decades significant investment is planned in passenger, freight and light rail infrastructure across Australia, including:

  • Inland Rail
  • Cross River Rail (Brisbane)
  • Melbourne Metro Rail
  • Sydney Metro and other public transport
  • Light Rail (Parramatta, Canberra, Gold Coast)
  • Melbourne Airport Rail Link
  • Suburban Rail Loop (Melbourne)
  • Metronet (WA)
  • High Speed Rail

By making sure as much as possible of this investment is spent in Australia, we can help retain the skills and the jobs the sector needs here at home.

Overseas purchases are justified as providing “better value for taxpayers”, but once the products arrive in Australia the problems are revealed. For example, NSW’s Korean-built intercity trains are wider bodied than existing trains and required extensive platform modifications; Queensland Rail’s Next Generation Rolling Stock had to undergo extensive modification at Downer Rail’s workshop in Maryborough.

Only an Albanese Labor Government will rebuild the nation’s manufacturing industry with a comprehensive plan to create jobs, boost vital skills, bring industry expertise back onshore and supercharge national productivity.