The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has congratulated Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the announcement of his new Ministry and the appointment of Catherine King as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
ARA chief executive officer Caroline Wilkie says the rail industry looked forward to working with Minister King to support a strong national focus for the rail industry, as well as with Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown, Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic MP and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing Hon Tim Ayres on advancing the government’s rail policies.
She said the delivery of the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, reinstating of the Rail Supplier Advocate and establishment of a Rail Innovation Council would help create more jobs in cities and regions across Australia.
“The Australian rail industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of infrastructure investment, which represents a huge opportunity to build capability across the rail supply chain,” she said.
“The Government needs to advance the National Rail Manufacturing Plan to support a strong and sustainable industry for the long term.”
Wilkie said the Labor Government’s commitment to establish a national infrastructure agenda and framework would also maximise the benefits of rail investment, and build on the recommendations of the recent report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities.
“There is a huge opportunity to improve outcomes for both industry and government by better planning and coordinating the national infrastructure pipeline and achieving greater standardisation across the country,” she said.
“This will encourage more industry representatives to bid for and deliver the projects that will shape our infrastructure network in years to come.”
Wilkie said the continued development of the Inland Rail project was vital to ensure the critical national building project meets Australia’s rail freight needs to help move freight on rail and meet future demand.
“It is important that we realise this once-in-a-generation opportunity and ensure Inland Rail is used to its full benefit, with continued investment by Commonwealth and state governments,” she said.
Wilkie said the ARA would also work with the Government in making faster rail a reality, with the establishment of the High Speed Rail Authority and the prioritisation of a fast rail connection between Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle, as promised by Albanese.
“There is a significant opportunity for faster rail to unlock new opportunities for regional development, making centres like Newcastle just a one to two hour train journey from Sydney,” she said.