This page belongs to: National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy

Related government priorities

This strategy, and the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, complements a range of other Australian Government priorities and initiatives including the below. 

National Reconstruction Fund (NRF)

The Australian Government has established the $15 billion NRF to facilitate increased flows of finance into the Australian economy. Investments will aim to diversify and transform Australian industry, create secure well-paid jobs, and boost sovereign capability. 

The NRF will operate in a commercial manner and target a positive rate of return for its portfolio. It will provide finance (including debt and equity) to drive investments in 7 priority areas of the Australian economy: 

  • renewables and low emission technologies
  • medical science
  • transport
  • value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors
  • value-add in resources
  • defence capability
  • enabling capabilities.

Co-investment plans will identify high-level investment opportunities and broader reforms to support industry growth and competitiveness in each NRF priority area. ONRIC and the National Rail Manufacturing Advocate will provide relevant industry insights to inform the development of the transport co-investment plan.

Industry Growth Program 

The Industry Growth Program (IGP) provides advice and matched grant funding to SMEs and startups so they can commercialise ideas and grow their businesses. Innovative SMEs and startups play a crucial role in the economy, but many have difficulty bringing their ideas to market and scaling up. The IGP will support early-stage businesses in their most challenging development phase. Projects in priority areas of the NRF (which includes the transport sector) will be eligible to apply for the IGP.

National Cabinet Rail Interoperability priority and the National Rail Action Plan 

See how this strategy relates to the National Rail Action Plan

Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan 

The Australian Government is developing a Net Zero 2050 plan, as outlined in the 2022 Annual Climate Statement to Parliament. In 2022, the government legislated that Australia's greenhouse gas emission targets will reach net zero by 2050. By 2030 Australia aims to reach emissions of 43% below 2005 levels.

Passenger and freight rail both play an important role in the future of transportation as Australia works towards achieving net zero by 2050. In recognition of this, the Australian Government is developing a net zero transport sector plan which will include rail.

How this strategy relates to the National Rail Action Plan

Advancing national rail interoperability is a National Cabinet priority which is being addressed through the National Rail Action Plan (NRAP). 

The NRAP is an agreed set of actions being delivered by the National Transport Commission (NTC) on behalf of the federal, state and territory governments and key members of the rail industry. It aims to improve the safety and productivity of rail operations and support delivery of rail infrastructure. It will also create opportunities for rail manufacturers to supply rolling stock and components.

Three priority areas have been identified for action under the NRAP: 

  • addressing skills and labour shortages
  • harmonising rules and standards across jurisdictions 
  • advancing interoperability of freight and passenger rail.

To address these priority areas, the NRAP will deliver mandated critical interoperability standards (including interoperable signalling systems) and streamline rolling stock approvals. 

Some of the NRAP’s actions will benefit the rail manufacturing sector, including NRAP’s work on skills and standards harmonisation. However, the growth of a domestic rail manufacturing sector is not NRAP’s key focus.

In contrast, the primary goal of the National Rail Manufacturing Plan and the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy (this document) is to grow and strengthen the rail manufacturing sector. It considers a broad range of challenges and opportunities beyond those identified in the NRAP.

ONRIC will work closely with the NTC, federal, state and territory transport agencies, industry, and unions to ensure that the delivery of this strategy is informed by work underway in the NRAP.

This diagram shows that the NRAP has 2 related intiatives, a rail standards harmonisation plan and the National Rail Skills Hub
The National Rail Action Plan and related initiatives are being led by the National Transport Commission. For further information see the NRAP web page and National Rail Skills Hub website.