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Labor will give local rail manufacturers a better chance at securing more of the $100 billion in rail contracts if it wins the next election.
Bill Shorten will on Friday announce a National Rail Plan to co-ordinate all rail projects in Australia to make sure government dollars help local industries.
"Labor believes that investment in rail should create local jobs and boost our domestic manufacturing capability - rather than just flowing to overseas industry competitors," Mr Shorten says.
The plan will make sure rail infrastructure projects are linked to objectives, including work being undertaken in Australia and co-operation between states on procurement.
"With more than $100 billion to be spent by governments and private companies in rail-based public transport projects throughout Australia in the next two decades, a national plan is critical to ensure we harness the massive opportunities for this investment," Mr Shorten says.
Labor will also establish an Office of National Rail Industry Coordination to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains nationally.
It will develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next 10 years.
Labor will also reinstate the Rail Supplier Advocate, which was cut in 2013, to help small and medium-sized businesses get their foot in the door for government contracts.
"At the same time as the industry is seeing jobs decline, we've seen huge projects go to companies overseas - with local manufacturing workers missing out," Mr Shorten says.
"Labor's plan will maximise the amount of work that goes to Australian firms."
This article first appeared on www.sbs.com.au
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