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A once in a generation opportunity to shape the future of rail in Australia

The Australasian rail industry is experiencing a new wave of growth as it prepares for the new year, writes Caroline Wilkie, Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). With $155 billion in rail investment planned over the next 15 years, the industry is faced with a once in a generation opportunity to shape the future of rail in Australia for years to come. There are a range of issues that will need to be addressed to make the most of this time in the rail industry’s evolution.

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Making the most of new investment

Rail construction activity is set to double the activity Australia witnessed at the peak of its mining boom in the early-2000s. That boom delivered significant benefits to the Australian economy, but also had to deal with the challenges that come with rapid growth. Effectively managing those challenges will ensure the rail industry can not just meet demand, but lay the foundations for enduring benefits for the economy and community as a result of this new wave of investment.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has identified a range of areas for action to help make the most of this opportunity in its report on The Australian Rail Supply Chain. Effective planning and procurement, nationally-focused local content policies, and measures that support the adoption of technology and innovation are among the priorities identified by the report. The ARA is advancing action on these issues through the implementation of its Rail Supply Chain Blueprint, which was launched in 2021.

While many of these issues are not new to the industry, progress that can be achieved now could have an exponential impact on the projects to come over the next 15 years.

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