WA Recovery Plan to boost local manufacturing and create jobs

The WA government is taking the next step to being more self-sufficient and bring more local manufacturing back to Western Australia, as part of the WA Recovery Plan.

Building on the successful METRONET Railcar Manufacturing and Assembly facility, currently under construction in Bellevue, the WA state government will now invest an additional $40.1 million to build a new diesel railcar maintenance facility as well.

The diesel facility will be situated at the site of the new world-class Bellevue facility, where the new 246 C-Series railcars will soon be manufactured, tested and maintained for decades to come.

Underpinned by the WA government’s $1.3 billion METRONET railcar program, a contract to build the diesel facility will be awarded next year.

The centre will provide maintenance and cleaning facilities for the new Australind, the existing Prospector and AvonLink railcars, as well as the high-tech new Infrastructure Diagnostic Vehicle and PTA’s locomotive U201, which provides track maintenance and rail shunting services across the network.

“Boosting local manufacturing to create a pipeline of WA jobs, will help our state become more self-sufficient and rebound from COVID-19 stronger than ever,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“WA is primed to join the supply chain of major industries and sectors like renewable energy, conservation, mining and construction. This package is about giving local businesses confidence to establish themselves, make local products and keep jobs here in WA. Boosting our manufacturing industry means more local jobs, more training and more apprenticeship opportunities for Western Australians for generations to come.”

Stage one of the new Bellevue railcar facility is on track for completion later this year.

This year alone the state government has seven METRONET projects underway, supporting and creating local jobs while providing opportunities for local businesses.

To further boost local manufacturing opportunities in WA and create local jobs, the government will form an action group to investigate the viability of manufacturing and maintaining iron ore railcar wagons in the Pilbara or other parts of WA.

It is expected the study will support initiatives that create long-term competitiveness of the steel fabrication industry in WA in supplying the iron ore sector to support jobs into the future, and explore maintenance opportunities linked to both new and existing ore wagon stock.

A report from the study is anticipated to be completed later this year.

Another key local manufacturing initiative – as part of the $92.4 million package – is $13.2 million in project funding to attract a global cathode active materials manufacturer to establish a production facility in WA.

The cathode active manufacturing initiative includes incentives to offset project costs, such as land lease rates on industrial land to help businesses establish and keep local jobs in WA.

This will strengthen WA’s position as a world leader in future battery minerals, materials, technology and expertise in global battery supply chains – and supports the implementation of the Western Australian Future Battery Industry Strategy.

Other initiatives part of the local manufacturing boost include:

  • $600,000 to assess viability of a Collie Eco-Concrete Processing Plant which will analyse the benefits of Collie based concrete manufacturing using waste fly-ash from coal powered stations instead of imported cement;
  • $15 million towards developing waste paper and cardboard processing capacity to support the COAG Waste Export Ban; and
  • $20 million in grants and industrial land to support the development of local waste processing capabilities and to implement the COAG Waste Export Ban.

These initiatives complement a $3.5 million investment, already announced, in Local Capability Fund rounds to boost local manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Australia’s COVID response.