Western Australia has huge potential in railcar manufacturing, both for the public transport and private haulage. We know this because we’ve done it before.
Right now thousands of WA fabricated railcars are transporting millions of tonnes of iron ore through the Pilbara. And dozens of WA fabricated Transperth carriages help take Perth commuters on millions of trips every year.
But our local railcar manufacturing industry is grinding to a halt because the State Government wants to purchase the 300 railcars Transperth needs over the next decade from overseas. Skilled railcar builders are already losing their jobs, at a time when the WA economy is already suffering from the end of the mining boom.
We know Australian fabricated rolling stock is top quality. We know that locomotives fabricated offshore last around five years before needing to be refurbished, but that Australian built locomotives are still going strong more than 30 years later. We know we can build public transport railcars here because we’ve got the track record to prove it. We already build Transperth buses here in Malaga, which provides great value for taxpayers and skilled local jobs too.
Many Western Australians will remember the Midland Workshops and and the thousands of young Western Australians who got an apprenticeship building railcars. This shouldn’t remain a thing of the past.
Of all the things a State Government can do to create jobs, maximising the involvement of local workers and businesses in the delivery of government services should be should be one of the easiest. As taxpayers, we should demand no less.
A plan for WA jobs should include a commitment by the State Government to a local build for the 300 Transperth railcars it will need over the next decade.
Sign our petition and download our plan for WA jobs here.