The Federal Government’s $7.9 billion investment to rail announced in tonight’s 2018-19 Budget is supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and noted as a significant boost to the rail sector.

“The ARA acknowledges the Government’s commitment to both passenger and freight rail in our cities and in our regions, enhancing our national and local economies, providing greater job opportunities for Australians and improving liveability in our cities,” said ARA CEO, Danny Broad.

Skills development will be the challenge

“With this significant pipeline of work over the next decade, it is imperative that Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments work collaboratively with industry to identify the long-term labour skills required, ensuring training methodologies are leading edge, as well as enhancing traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities and capabilities. This is exactly what we have been advocating for since September 2017 in our National Rail Industry Plan.

“If we do not get this right and invest now in the skills needed tomorrow, we will be putting the cart before the horse, resulting in projects not being delivered on time, delays and congestion to our networks – ultimately not solving the problems we are there to fix,” said Danny Broad.

Turning specifically to the Budget, ARA CEO, Danny Broad said many would benefit from what these announcements mean for the movement of people and freight.

“The ARA welcomes $400 million injected to ease congestion around Sydney Airport through the duplication of tracks on the line to Port Botany. Every single additional train with containers along this rail line will take 50 trucks off the road, creating 150 jobs during construction.

“On the passenger rail front, $5 billion has been committed by the Commonwealth for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, $1.1 billion for the Metronet Rail Project in Western Australia, $390 million to duplicate the North Coast Queensland line between Beerburrum and Landsborough and $220 million for the Gawler Rail Line electrification in South Australia.

“All in all this is an investment of $7.9 billion to rail in Australia, which is good for our economy, jobs and our cities.