A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that more trains are built in Australia by local manufacturing workers – establishing a National Rail Plan to ensure that every dollar of Federal funding spent on rail projects goes towards creating local jobs and protecting our rail industry.
Australia will spend more on rail in the next decade than on submarines. It’s important to get that investment right.
Labor believes that investment in rail should create local jobs and boost our domestic manufacturing capability – rather than just flowing to overseas industry competitors.
The Australian rail manufacturing industry employs 5000 workers, with another 7000 in the supply chain. But the industry has lost over 3000 jobs in the past decade. Labor’s plan will protect and create more jobs.
Labor’s serious about investing in rail – we’ve committed $3.7 billion to new urban rail infrastructure around the country. And with more than $100 billion to be spent by governments and private companies in rail-based public transport projects throughout Australia in the next two decades, a national plan is critical to ensure we harness the massive opportunities for this investment – for more jobs and a better industry.
Labor will work with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Government to develop a National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy.
As part of this strategy, future Commonwealth grant funding for rail infrastructure projects will be linked to objectives such as work being undertaken in Australia rather than commissioning overseas companies, and cooperation between jurisdictions on procurement.
Labor will also:
- Establish an Office of National Rail Industry Coordination, to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains nationally and develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next ten years.
- Reinstate 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.
- Establish 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 decline of the rail manufacturing industry in recent years has discouraged rail manufacturing firms from investing in their businesses and forced many skilled workers from the industry.
At the same time as the industry is seeing jobs decline, we’ve seen huge projects go to companies overseas – with local manufacturing workers missing out.
Action must be taken to preserve the strategic capabilities of Australian rail manufacturing.
Labor’s plan will maximise the amount of work that goes to Australian firms – creating Australian jobs.
A fact sheet is available here.