A fair go for Australia’s rail industry

A study conducted by the government has shown how important Australia’s rail manufacturing industry is to the economy, generating $4.2 billion revenue and adding $1.6 billion to the economy annually. 

Due to the results of the study, called Railway Manufacturing Industry – A Profile of the Rail Manufacturing Industry in Australia, the government says it will develop new strategies to ensure railway manufacturers are in for a richer, fairer and greener future.

“The report, prepared by ACIL Tasman, shows that in 2008-09, the rail manufacturing industry comprised more than 330 firms, employed more than 15,000 Australians, generated $4.2 billion annual revenue and added $1.6 billion to the Australian economy annually,” said Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr.

“This demonstrates just how substantial the national contribution of the Australian railway manufacturing industry is in terms of investment, jobs, skills and innovation. It is a diverse sector, with a wide-range of skill sets across Australia, particularly in regional areas.

“A comprehensive understanding of the sector allows us to develop the policies that ensure Australian rail companies, particularly small and medium enterprises, are in the best position to be successful.” 

The report is part of a broader industry development program being led by Rail Supplier Advocate, Bruce Griffiths. 

This includes the development of the Rail Manufacturing Technology Roadmap, which is designed to help put our rail industry on the right track for a successful future by matching its capabilities to domestic and international opportunities. 

The importance of Australia’s railway manufacturing industry has been a news focus of late, due to the various OH&S problems found within the Waratah project – a $3.6 billion train contract outsourced to China for deployment in Sydney.

The project ran 15 months late, and will need to have new software installed down the track, due to defects including ‘milky’ windscreens, no ceiling padding, cables shrouding driver’s view, poor-quality steel welding, and gaps in plastic moulding.

Image: The $3.6 billion China-made Waratah train project ran 15 months late due to a slew of OH&S defects.