Future of Rail Manufacturing Roundtable Press Conference Segments

24 July 2023


Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade Manufacturing: Thanks very much, Chris. Well, it is a real pleasure to be here with Karen McKeown, local member here for Penrith, with Jo Haylen, the New South Wales Transport Minister, and Chris Minns.


What a difference it makes to have a new government here in New South Wales, what a difference it makes to have new governments at the Commonwealth and the State level determined to fight for Australian manufacturing. This firm here is emblematic of hundreds of firms around Australia that haven't been given a fair go, particularly here in New South Wales, haven't been given a fair go in terms of new contracts and new job opportunities.


The last Liberal Government in New South Wales outsourced billions of dollars’ worth of rail and bus and ferry contracts overseas. That cost thousands of jobs, hundreds of apprenticeships, in our outer suburbs, like right here in Penrith, and in Regional New South Wales.


It is so good to see Jo Haylen and Chris Minns here committing the New South Wales Government to more work, to more local procurement, more local jobs, and that's what the Albanese Government is here to do as well, to work collectively with the State governments right around Australia to make sure Australian trains are built here in Australia, thousands of job opportunities flow and hundreds of firms like this one, family businesses that are doing top‑shelf, high‑quality engineering get an opportunity to build new jobs, new apprenticeships and new opportunity. So I'm just delighted to be here, as always. Thank you.



Journalist: So who's going to be at the round table today, and I guess what commitment is there that it's not just going to be a talk‑fest, because sometimes these things could happen there?


Assistant Minister: The round table today, is an initiative of the New South Wales and Commonwealth Governments. It's time we actually got Australian firms working together over these multi‑billion‑dollar rail contracts. There is enormous opportunity to be shared right across Australia, if only we can get our industry, the State governments, the firms, the unions, all working together around this common set of objectives.


I'm absolutely delighted that Jo Haylen, the New South Wales Transport Minister, has led this initiative. It's good to see firms from all around Australia coming here to Sydney to talk about all of the opportunities that exist if we work together in rail manufacturing across Australia.


That's what the Albanese Government's National Rail Manufacturing Plan is about. It's about delivering jobs and opportunity for Australians, and I am delighted to see hundreds of firms and officials from all over the country coming together to start work on this important initiative.


Journalist: What is the actual state of our local rail manufacturing, and how long will it take to get it up to scratch, so we can actually make the most of the cuts?


Assistant Minister: Well, good governments make a big difference here. As you look around the country, the Queensland and Victorian Governments have locked in billions and billions of dollars’ worth of work. The Western Australian Government has locked in the manufacturing of the METRONET trains and has also brought in lots of opportunity from the freight sector, a building opportunity in Perth in Western Australia.


The former New South Wales Liberal Government let Australia down by sending that work overseas. And it's terrific to see Chris Minns as the Premier, and Jo Haylen as the Transport Minister, bringing billions of dollars’ worth of work back into Australia.


The next step, of course, is the Albanese Government's National Rail Manufacturing Plan, which means we're all working together, Commonwealth, the State governments, making sure we share capability, drive down costs, create more opportunities and more jobs.


Journalist: That manufacturing is often outsourced due to cost. Does committing to building trains here mean more cost to the taxpayer?


Assistant Minister: Well, smart local procurement, State governments working together with Commonwealth leadership from the Albanese Government will mean downward pressure on costs, more jobs and higher quality and safety standard outcomes.


We saw what happened here in New South Wales when the previous Liberal Government offshored this work. Thousands of workers lost their jobs, hundreds of apprentices never started, billions of dollars’ worth of opportunity lost offshore. All of these projects run by the previous Liberal Government ran over cost and over time, was a disaster for workers, a disaster for taxpayers and a disaster for the travelling public.


It just requires, you know, confidence in Australia and confidence in Australians and confidence in the Australian manufacturing sector to get us all working together to make sure we deliver a better outcome for taxpayers and a better outcome for workers and the community.