Mark McGowan and WA Labor deliver a local manufacturing comeback

Posted on March 9, 2021
  • McGowan Labor Government returning railcar manufacturing to WA with new Bellevue railcar facility in final stages of construction
  • New METRONET and Australind railcars to be manufactured, built and maintained locally
  • Local materials and local workers construct the facility, supporting WA jobs
  • A re-elected McGowan Government will build on the success of the railcars policy and work to drive more local manufacturing as part of the WA Jobs Plan

More than 440 Western Australian workers are helping the McGowan Government return railcar manufacturing to WA, with construction almost complete on the new METRONET Bellevue railcar facility, a key election commitment.

Construction of the new METRONET railcar facility in Bellevue is in its final stages, with the new facility on track to be handed over to railcar builder Alstom.

Close to 8,500 tonnes of WA steel has been used to reinforce the 180 metre long building in Bellevue, which when complete will create more than 200 long-term jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs.

The $46 million facility is part of the wider contract the McGowan Government signed with Alstom to have Western Australia’s new METRONET and Australind railcars built locally.

The $1.25 billion contract, awarded to Alstom, is the biggest order of railcars in WA history and came in more than $300 million under the original budget. Once complete, the facility will produce 246 METRONET C-series railcars and six railcars to replace the existing Australind service.

By having the new railcars built in Bellevue, the McGowan Government is returning rail manufacturing to the Midland area for the first time since 1994 when the Midland Railway Workshops were closed by the then Liberal Government.

In line with the 2017 election commitment, at least 50 per cent of the contract value will be delivered locally with millions of dollars of contracts already awarded to Western Australian businesses.

The decision to deliver more of the contract in WA has created local jobs and delivered value-for-money. The cost per railcar under the last order of B-Series trains – built in Queensland – was $4.05 million, while the cost under the new C-Series contract is around $2.97 million.

A re-elected McGowan Government will implement the WA Jobs Plan which includes new initiatives to drive local manufacturing, such as critical iron ore wagon components, build stand-alone power systems in WA and support the development of wind turbine manufacturing.

This builds on the work of the McGowan Government to encourage and drive local manufacturing, which includes:

  • Investing $40.1 million to construct a new diesel railcar maintenance facility;
  • Reducing TAFE fees for key manufacturing and METRONET courses;
  • Developing a speciality METRONET Trade Training Centre at Midland TAFE;
  • Investing $18.34 million in a maritime defence industry workforce package to build up WA’s defence manufacturing workforce;
  • Investing $3.3 million for seven new maritime defence industry TAFE courses;
  • Awarding family-operated company Technifire a $47.5 million contract in February to build up to 300 new firefighting vehicles;
  • Investing $150,000 towards the establishment of a local manufacturing for the Avicenna rapid virus testing machine; and
  • Providing $16.7 million towards projects that supercharge food and beverage manufacturing and value-adding in WA to create more than 600 local jobs.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“Local manufacturing is at the forefront of our WA Jobs Plan to secure WA’s future and keep our economy strong.

“Our decision to bring back railcar manufacturing to WA will create hundreds of ongoing WA jobs and secure a reliable supply chain of parts and equipment.

“Our railcar contracts are also luring companies to establish operations in WA which will create more local jobs for Western Australians.

“Over the past four years, my government has made local manufacturing a priority.

We’ve brought back manufacturing of railcars for the first time in years, ignited our defence manufacturing industry and put manufacturing front and centre at TAFEs across the State.

“My Government will continue to drive WA’s manufacturing renaissance through our Jobs Plan – we are well placed to grow our local industry even further and build a stable pipeline of work in the long term.

“This includes our commitment to create hundreds of new jobs by driving local manufacturing of critical iron ore wagon components, stand-alone power systems and wind turbines.”