National Rail Advocate appointed to drive local manufacture

The former head of the body charged with overhauling Queensland’s railway operator has been appointed to help deliver the federal government’s vision for a renaissance of domestic rail manufacturing.

Jacqui Walters

Brisbane-based management change specialist Jacqui Walters, who formerly chaired Queensland’s Citytrain Response Unit, has been appointed National Rail Manufacturing Advocate and Rail Industry Innovation Council Chair, tasked with delivering the national rail manufacturing plan.

As part of her job she will advise the government on the Australian rail industry and strategies to back local rail manufacture, including low-emission passenger trains.

Mr Ayers said with extensive experieince leading strategy and change projects, Ms Walters would co-ordinate state and territory procurement of rail rolling stock and help make Australian manufacturers competitive in regional and global markets.

“As Advocate, she will work with state and territory governments and stakeholders to pursue a national approach that provides increased opportunities for local businesses and creates more local jobs, particularly in regional Australia,’ he said.

Mr Ayers also announced the appointment of members of the Rail Industry Innovation Council, including Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chair Danny Broad, former Queensland transport minister Rachel Nolan and Katarzyna Stapleton from Queensland Rail.

Peak rail sector body welcomes appointments

ARA welcomed the announcements, saying research it has undertaken confirms lack of coordination by procurers is costing the rail industry $230 million a year.

Mr Broad said the announcement was the first step towards developing safe, sustainable rail and will foster research and development and boost skills and capabilities in the sector.

“This plan will support more trains being built here in Australia and create local, skilled manufacturing jobs,” he said in a statement.

“It will improve government supply and export opportunities for local businesses and improve competitiveness overall.

“The ARA looks forward to the delivery of the National Rail Manufacturing Plan to support industry productivity and facilitate opportunities for Australian manufacturers.”

The government plans to deliver a National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy by the end of the year.

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