Analysis and Commentary

Board for rail manufacture policy has no manufacturers

Analysis and Commentary

The federal government has moved on its promise to rebuild Australian rail manufacturing and make more rail rolling stock in Australia – however it appears to have forgotten to include any actual rail manufacturers in their plans.

Today the Assistant Manufacturing Minister Tim Ayres announced the appointment of Ms Jacqui Walters (pictured) to the role of National Rail Manufacturing Advocate and eight leading experts to the Rail Industry Innovation Council.

According to Ayres the appointments are critical to the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, which aims to deliver a national strategy for the domestic manufacture of high quality, low emissions passenger trains.

The Government intends to deliver a National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy by the end of the year.

But one has to question why no rail manufacturer names, other than the sector peak body the Australian Railway Association which is represented, have been drafted to help map out a future for manufacturing?

Over 900 companies support Australia’s rail manufacturing and supply industry, with manufacturing and assembly capability across the country. Rollingstock manufacturing and repair generates $2.4 billion in Australia each year.

Yes, the Association represents industry, but why has this train left the station without even one actual manufacturer on board?

According to a statement Ms Walters has a track record of successfully leading strategy and change projects across Commonwealth, state and territory governments.

“As a former Chair of the Citytrain Response Unit, which has oversight of the transformation of public transport in Queensland, Ms Walters will bring a wealth of experience in the rail sector to the role.

“Her leadership experience in the transport sector is complemented by her background in renewable energy and venture capital funding.

“She will lead Commonwealth coordination of state and territory procurement of rail rolling stock, helping Australian manufacturers to be competitive in export markets in regional and global supply chains.”

Others of the Council members are:

Graham Bentley (of engineering and tunnelling group Aurecon);

Danny Broad (Australasian Railway Association);

Vicki Brown (UTS Transport Research Centre Advisory Board);

Samantha McWilliam (of professional services firm WSP Australia)

Rachel Nolan (former Queensland Minister for Transport);

Professor Ravi Ravitharan (Monash Institute of Railway Technology);

Katarzyna Stapleton (Queensland Rail)

And Mr Glenn Thompson (Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union).

Picture: Jacqui Walters

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