The Strategy, released today by the Federal Government, outlines several actions required to achieve a more sustainable and competitive rail manufacturing sector.
The ARA’s CEO Caroline Wilkie said the industry has advocated strongly for better harmonisation across the country since the Office of National Rail Industry Coordination (ONRIC) was formed last year.
“For far too long, the rail industry has had to grapple with a lack of harmonisation across networks, dampening competitiveness, significantly increasing costs and constraining investment,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The rail industry urgently needs a national approach to procurement to help drive productivity and innovation as it delivers a $154 billion pipeline over the next 15 years.”
The Strategy, under the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, focuses on developing a nationally coordinated approach to rolling stock procurement, harmonising standards for manufacturing rolling stock, adopting a national local content approach and maximising opportunities for freight and heavy haul rail manufacturing.
The Strategy is part of the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, announced in the 2022-23 Budget.
An ARA report last year found taxpayers would have saved $1.85 billion over the past 10 years if state rolling stock contracts had been better coordinated.
Separate ARA research also confirmed the current uncoordinated approach to type approval processes by procurers is costing the rail industry $230 million per year.
Ms Wilkie said the current state-based local content policies between jurisdictions led to duplication of facilities and made it hard for organisations to bid for key contracts.
“Building more trains locally will lead to an increase in local, skilled manufacturing jobs and bolster export opportunities for local businesses,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The ARA welcomes this Strategy as a significant step towards a more sustainable, safe and productive industry by providing a platform for collaboration and coordination.
“The ARA looks forward to working closely with governments and the Rail Industry Innovation Council on the Strategy to support increased competitiveness, innovation, and growth within the rail manufacturing industry.”
The rail rolling stock manufacturing and repair industry has a revenue of just over $2.4 billion and a direct value-added of $515 million.
The strategy can be found here.