AUSTRALIA: The 2022-23 federal budget includes A$14·2m over four years to establish a National Rail Manufacturing Plan ‘to ensure more trains are built in Australia, support skilled manufacturing and expand the local rail industry’.

An Office of National Rail Industry Co-ordination will be formed within the Department of Industry to work with state and territory governments, manufacturers, industry bodies, unions and research organisations.

The office will establish a Rail Industry Innovation Council to boost research and development, skills and capabilities. It will appoint a rail supplier advocate to help SMEs access export and government supply opportunities, and develop a National Rail Procurement & Manufacturing Strategy to increase productivity and facilitate opportunities for Australian manufacturers.

The announcement on October 25 was welcomed by Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie, who said ’a national focus for local manufacturing is essential to strengthen the Australian rail supply chain as the industry prepares for significant growth over the coming decade’.