Most of the Pilbara’s iron ore is moved by heavy rail and Western Australia’s Cook Government says it has taken another significant step to boost local freight railcar manufacturing with the establishment of a new Rail Collaboration Centre (RCC) in Karratha, with hubs located in Newman and Perth.
The Minister Assisting the Minister for State and Industry Development, Jobs and Trade Stephen Dawson, announced a A$998,000 funding package to assist the CORE Innovation Hub to enhance manufacturing and employment opportunities in the Western Australia’s rail sector. The funding, which has been made available under the Cook Government’s Local Manufacturing Investment Fund (LMIF), will support the assembly, manufacture, servicing, research and development of rail freight wagons to take place locally.
The RCC is expected to generate opportunities for local manufacturing, new industry activity, create jobs, and localise training opportunities. The centre will fill a strategic gap as a collaboration platform to undertake world-class testing, research and development of new rolling stock, infrastructure, technology, and ideas.
One of the main focuses of the RCC will be supporting and delivering activity and capability in the Pilbara. The centre will be independently operated by the CORE Innovation Hub – as the partner of the Australasian Rail Association – and take guidance from members of their Heavy Haul Executive Committee, which represents major heavy haul operators. The Cook Government’s A$15 million LMIF is part of an election commitment to support local companies to enhance their competitiveness.
Comments attributed to the Minister Assisting the Minister for State and Industry Development Stephen Dawson: “Establishing a new Rail Collaboration Centre will create jobs, training opportunities, and provide a huge boost to local manufacturing of rail freight wagons. This is another major initiative through the Cook Government’s Local Manufacturing Investment Fund and supports our rail industry. Being able to locally assemble, manufacture, service, carry out research and development, and drive innovation for wagons, are fantastic developments for the Pilbara region.
He added: “The LMIF provides a boost to local companies and ensures our State remains competitive in an ever-changing market, putting WA at the forefront of new technologies and innovations.”