The Queensland Government has committed to having the first 20 trains of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail built in Maryborough, Queensland, to support the local rail manufacturing sector.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed the announcement, which would see Maryborough become an engine for local jobs creation over the next decade.
ARA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the commitment to invest $600 million to build the new trains formed part of a wider $1 billion pipeline to give the sector greater certainty and scale.
“This commitment would transform the face of Queensland manufacturing and shows once and for all that trains can and should be built here in Australia,” Ms Wilkie said.
“This investment in rail manufacturing would ensure the trains operating on the state’s newest passenger rail line are absolutely fit for purpose and made for Australian conditions by the people that know them best.
“We are pleased this commitment has recognised Australia’s extensive expertise in the field and the need to invest to this scale in the local industry.”
Ms Wilkie said a decision to invest in local capability would deliver positive outcomes over the new fleet’s lifecycle and would drive new jobs, skills development and other opportunities for people in the state.
“Australia’s rollingstock manufacturing and repair industry already employs more than 4,000 people across the country, and today’s announcement is welcome recognition of the industry’s contribution,” Ms Wilkie said.
“Projects like this provide the scale and certainty companies need to further invest in people, skills and innovation.
“Today’s commitment has the potential to deliver much wider benefits to the Maryborough region and the Queensland community.”
The new trains would be the first in nearly a decade to be built from the ground up in Queensland.
Rolling stock design, manufacturing and assembly capability exists across Australia, including at Downer’s facility in Maryborough.
The ARA’s support for investment in Australian rail manufacturing was outlined in its recently released new tendering framework, calling for a national approach to rail procurement to help further grow the market opportunities in the country.