16 November 2023 –
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has welcomed the Albanese government’s National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy, which seeks to develop an efficient and sustainable domestic rail manufacturing sector and provide good quality local jobs.
AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson said that the strategy is a comprehensive effort to bring together governments, businesses and unions to rebuild Australia’s domestic rail manufacturing sector and represented years of campaigning and hard work by AMWU members in the rail industry.
“The AMWU congratulates the Albanese government on the launch of the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy, which, for the first time, seeks to bring together key government, business and union stakeholders to deliver a rail manufacturing sector that serves the needs of our nation and provides secure local jobs and invaluable export opportunities for our industry.
“I also thank the members of the AMWU National Rail Industry Committee for their tireless work and congratulate them on this excellent outcome.
“For decades, Australia’s rail manufacturing and procurement sector has been unfocused, directionless and operated on an ad hoc basis that failed to deliver value for taxpayers or quality products for government buyers.
“Recent light and heavy rail projects across Australia involving rolling stock procured overseas have been plagued with major delays, cost blowouts and issues of quality and design, much to the frustration of governments, commuters and taxpayers.
“The disconnected nature of the rail procurement programs between states and territories has meant that, for decades, we’ve missed opportunities to create high-quality jobs in domestic rail manufacturing.
“But this new strategy is good news for local workers, our economy and the transport networks upon which so many rely.”
As a critical strategy objective, Mr Thompson said he looked forward to developing a continuous build program for rail rolling stock.
“With a nation as large as Australia, state and territory governments and industry require a steady flow of rolling stock to meet their passenger and freight rail needs.
“This strategy will help to ensure these projects are coordinated in a manner that sustains a continuous build program in our rail manufacturing sector, supporting the highly skilled workforce we need.
“While state and territory governments have made increasing commitments to build rolling stock domestically, this strategy will finally provide a nationally consistent approach that will deliver efficiencies and economies of scale, saving taxpayers millions.
Mr Thompson also said it was important that, throughout the implementation of the strategy, every opportunity to include local content be maximised.
“The growth of our domestic rail manufacturing sector has incredible potential to benefit Australian manufacturers across many supply chains.
“But for those benefits to be fully realised, every effort must be taken to include local content in the construction of rolling stock.
“Only through the maximisation of local content in rail manufacturing projects will we see the delivery of the highly skilled, good quality jobs our communities deserve and need into the future.”
Media contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414 783 405