Transport employment outlook positive

All sectors – 1Q19.

Hiring intentions in the Transportation & Utilities sector remain robust for 1Q19 despite drifting lower quarter-on-quarter with a Net Employment Outlook of +18%, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The survey collects data from over 59,000 employers in 43 countries, including 1,500 in Australia.
The outlook for 1Q19 is -5 points lower than the 7-year high recorded in the last quarter of 2018, but remains in positive territory with its second strongest result since early 2012. The latest data reveals the sector had the strongest year on year gain, up +7 points.
The employment outlook is strongest for the Mining & Construction sector with a Net Employment Outlook of +22%, while the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector has recorded one of the strongest improvements compared to the same period last year as the sector appears to prepare for a post-Christmas hiring boost.

Fuel security: why is there none? 

The Maritime Union of Australia has again drawn attention on the Morrison Government’s refusal to act on fuel security after years of warnings, with new figures showing Australia now has just 22 days of petrol and 17 days of diesel at its disposal.
Australia has been non-compliant with the International Energy Agency’s 90-day fuel stockholding obligation since March 2012 and the current government has since ignored several key reports.
For example, a National Energy Security Assessment was announced last April. It was sparked by concerns over declining domestic production, diminishing refining capacity and concerns over potential flashpoints in the Middle East, South China Sea and Korean Peninsula.
However, nothing has been done since then and a report in today’s Australian newspaper said the new figures have again sparked warnings from Coalition MP and security experts that the nation is dangerously exposed if a major geopolitical upheaval disrupts existing supply routes.
The newspaper said experts have also criticised a government move to spend more than $20 million buying supplies held offshore to bolster the national reserve, saying the move will do little to boost the resilience of the domestic fuel stockpile.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said a number of inquiries and reports in recent years have focused on the important issue of fuel security, including the MUA’s report titled ‘Australia’s Fuel Security – Running on Empty’ in December last year, written by shipping expert John Francis.
“The Senate has held inquiries into both fuel security and tax avoiding flag-of-convenience shipping, while the Energy White Paper and Defence White Paper also investigated our increasing reliance on foreign fuel,” Mr Crumlin said.
“It’s doubling up on the government’s initial policy negligence in allowing Australia to lose its refinery capacity of oil we own and is sourced in our country, and then allow tax avoidance and dodgy shipping governance to replace our domestic shipping capacity. No one has been at the wheel of energy security in Canberra for a very long time. It’s a joke with very few laughs for Australian jobs, economic independence and long term planning.
“In addition, the ‘Running on Empty’ report found that Australia now relies on the equivalent of almost 60 full-time fuel import tankers to keep us supplied with petrol, diesel and jet fuel, which is now all carried on the international spot market, mainly from Korea, Singapore and Japan.
“The report found Australia’s reliance on foreign flagged tankers removes any opportunity for the Commonwealth to be able to requisition national flag tankers if necessary to secure minimum import or coastal distribution requirements following major economic or geopolitical disruptions.
“The cost of addressing this risk is comparatively low: even carrying Australia’s entire import volume on a fleet of Australian tankers would cost less than one extra cent per litre.
“The Australian government needs support as a matter of urgency a number of Australian tankers as part of a national strategic fleet to ensure that some level of supplies can be maintained in the event of a crisis.”
Mr Crumlin said there are now no Australian-crewed tankers supplying fuel to our nation, down from 12 in the year 2000. At the same time, the number of refineries has halved to four. This means we now import more than 90 per cent of our fuel and that number is rising.
“Australians would expect our Government to have a better plan and this would involve more refining here and Australian-crewed ships to carry it around the coast,” he said.
“This isn’t only a matter of fuel security but also national security. Unlike Australian seafarers, foreign crews have no background checks yet they are carrying petroleum products, ammonium nitrate and LNG around the Australian coast.”

Australia Post to go it alone

Australia Post has decided to secure full ownership of Aramex Global Solutions (AGS), which provides end-to-end cross-border logistics solutions to a portfolio of iconic global e-commerce merchants.
Australia Post has reached in-principle agreement to purchase from its joint venture partner Aramex PJSC the 60% of AGS it does not already own for approximately US$20 million.
AGS has grown strongly since it was established by Australia Post and global express delivery and logistics company Aramex two years ago, with revenue up more than 60% since 2016 to approximately A$138 million* in 2018. Australia Post’s exclusive delivery of parcels for AGS in FY18 generated A$40 million of revenue.
AGS enables Australian consumers to shop online globally, connecting international retailers directly with Australia Post’s last-mile delivery and customs clearance capabilities. In addition to delivering significant parcel volumes inbound to Australia, AGS has an established presence in key global e-commerce trade lanes, including Asia, the UK, Europe and the US, providing a valuable platform for continued expansion.
Executive general manager international services Annette Carey said: “As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia Post, AGS provides an established platform to accelerate our international growth strategy.
“Combining our postal capabilities with AGS’s bespoke e-commerce capabilities enables Australia Post to engage directly with international retailers, providing unique customer service to capture strong growth in cross-border e-commerce markets.
“Today’s agreement with Aramex reflects changes to the strategic direction of both organisations, including Australia Post’s commitment to positioning itself as a global provider of cross-border e-commerce.”
The strength of cross-border e-commerce markets and a highly regarded management team, led by CEO Nabil Zaghloul have underpinned the growth of AGS, which is now handling more than two million international parcels a month.
“At AGS, we’re very excited to benefit from Australia Post’s culture, long-term vision and ongoing investment” said Mr Zaghloul. “Through partnerships with China Post and major Asian e-commerce marketplaces, we can leverage our platform into new markets.”
Transaction completion is expected to occur in the coming days. Australia Post has plans to rename and rebrand AGS to reflect the change in ownership in the near future.
* Reflective of revenue generated in the eleven months ended 30 November 2018 and an estimated revenue for December. Full year revenue is expected to be US$99m or c.A$138m. (AUD/USD = 0.7194 at 18 Dec 2018).
 

Safe Rates on the horizon: TWU welcomes Labor commitment

The Transport Workers’ Union has welcomed the Labor Party commitment to establishing a system to tackle what it calls the downward spiral in the road transport industry.
The Labor Party National Conference heard that since the Coalition Government abolished a road safety watchdog in 2016, 469 people have been killed in truck crashes. In August a Monash University study confirmed again that trucking is Australia’s deadliest job, with drivers 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession.
The commitment to improving road safety will see the party engage with the TWU and key industry players in developing a system of safe standards that will apply to all parties in the transport supply chain and raise standards across the industry.
“This is an important day for our industry because we can be assured that under a Labor government, there will be a priority to make transport safer and fairer. The industry is on its knees because of the way wealthy companies at the top demand that their goods be delivered for the bare minimum. In trucking this means constant financial pressure on transport operators and drivers. This sees drivers pushed to work long hours, speed and skip rest breaks and it means vital maintenance on trucking fleets is delayed. This is why transport is Australia’s deadliest industry and why there are such high numbers of deaths and injuries in truck crashes. Today the transport industry has a brighter future, with a plan for sustainable businesses, quality jobs and safer roads,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.
Truck driver John Waltis told the Industrial Deaths Inquiry earlier this year that he’s attended more than 50 funerals for truck driver colleagues.
“I’ve seen the consequences of fatigue, the pressures to meet deadlines, and crashes due to mechanical faults. The devastating effects of these pressures goes beyond the 51 funerals I’ve attended. I’ve consoled far too many wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. It’s time for change,” Mr Waltis said.
When it comes to insolvencies, transport also faces difficulties. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows that 469 companies entered into external administration in the transport, postal and warehousing industries between July 2016 and June 2017. The main reason for the insolvencies was inadequate cash flow.
Labor will also tackle the exploitation of transport workers in the on-demand economy.
“For on-demand workers the plan for Safe Rates means an end to exploitation and eighteenth century working conditions via an app. These workers, regardless of their label, will be able to seek rights and collectively agitate for conditions that will bring fairness, safety and stability to the industry,” Mr Kaine added.
A survey of riders has shown three out of every four riders are paid below minimum rates. Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had. A Melbourne delivery rider recently won a landmark unfair dismissal case against Foodora.
References:

  1. Truck crash deaths statistics

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics fatal truck crash statistics.
Safe Work workplace fatality statistics.

  1. Safe Rates

In April 2016 the Federal Government abolished a system backing safe rates that was holding wealthy clients such as retailers, banks, oil companies and ports to account for low cost contracts, which do not allow their goods to be delivered safely. This was despite the Government’s own reports showing a link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the safe rates system would reduce truck crashes by 28% [PricewaterhouseCoopers “Review of the Road Safety Remuneration System Final Report January 2016” (PWC Review 2016 – published by the Commonwealth Department of Employment on 1 April, 2016)].

  1. Evidence of pressure

A Macquarie University study in February criticised a ‘critical gap” since the Government abolished the regulation that the independent tribunal represented, “that can eliminate existing incentives for overly tight scheduling, unpaid work, and rates that effectively are below cost recovery”.
The study also showed that:

  • One in 10 truck drivers work over 80 hours per week.
  • One in six owner drivers say drivers can’t refuse an unsafe load
  • 42% of owner drivers said the reason drivers do not report safety breaches was because of a fear of losing their jobs

A Safe Work Australia report in July 2015 showed:

  • 31% of transport employers say workers ignore safety rules to get the job done
  • 20% of transport employers accept dangerous behaviour, compared to less than 2% in other industries.
  • 20% of transport industry employers break safety rules to meet deadlines – this compares with just 6% of employers in other industries.
  1. Senate report on road safety

In October the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee approved a report recommending industry-led talks to set up an independent body on “supply chain standards and accountability as well as sustainable, safe rates for the transport industry”.

  1. Transport company insolvencies: the full ASIC report.

Rough seas ahead: UN body forecasts trade conflict risks

Coinciding with a recent trade truce between the United States and China to usher in dialogue and trade negotiation, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has released a new report discussing the impact of a full-blown trade war and charting potential policy responses in the region to withstand the headwinds.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) 2018 notes an accelerated imposition of restrictions on trade in goods and services, and more reservations on foreign direct investment (FDI). The United States-China trade tensions have also begun to disrupt existing supply chains and dampen investor confidence, as evidenced by the deceleration in trade growth after the first half of 2018. If the trade tensions remain, export growth may slow to 2.3 per cent in 2019, compared to a nearly 4 per cent growth in export volume in 2018. FDI inflows to the region are also expected to continue in their downward trend next year, following a 4 per cent drop in 2018.
Tariff hikes that have already taken place are expected to cut global gross domestic product (GDP) by USD150 billion, and regional GDP by a little over USD40 billion if they remain. Importantly, as many of the main export industries in the region are relatively labour-intensive, a contraction of export could spell at least temporary hardship for many workers. At a minimum, Asia and the Pacific will see a net loss of 2.7 million jobs due to the trade war, with unskilled workers – often women – shouldering more severe impact.
The report finds that if the tariff war escalates further in 2019 and investor and consumer confidence drop, global GDP could ultimately be cut by nearly USD400 billion, also driving regional GDP down by USD117 billion. Almost 9 million people could be put out of work in the region, with many more workers also moving to new jobs in different sectors.
As trade frictions reshape global value chains (GVC), winners and losers in the region are likely to emerge. Based on research, South-East Asia is well positioned to benefit in the medium term. Vietnam in particular, is poised to take over some GVC activities from China. However, “GVC redirection and trade flows induced by trade tensions are not optimal, nor stable. It’s probable that investors will postpone at least some investments till policy uncertainties decrease,” said director of the Trade, Investment and Innovation Division at ESCAP Ms Mia Mikic.
“As production shifts take place and resources are reallocated across sectors and borders due to the trade conflicts, tens of millions of workers may see their jobs displaced and be forced to seek new employment. Regional integration will be important to create new economic opportunities. But other complementary policies, such as labour, education and retraining policies plus social protection measures to support people negatively affected must also be placed high on the policymakers’ agenda if the region is to continue making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.
The report highlights that neither China nor the United States can win a trade war: both will see significant economic losses from continuing conflict. It also finds that implementation of mega-regional trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, among ASEAN and its six partners, could offset much of the economic losses from trade tensions. ESCAP estimates that implementation of mega-regionals could boost exports by 1.3 to 2.9 per cent and add 3.5 to 12.5 million jobs in employment for the Asia-Pacific. Therefore, APTIR 2018 underscores the importance of regional cooperation and calls on countries to take advantage of all existing initiatives, including the new UN treaty aimed at digitalising trade procedures and enabling cross-border paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific.
 

Container-vessel-entering-Port-of-Newcastle-freight-politics

Will Port Botany battle through the Newcastle storm?

The Port of Newcastle has developed the concept for a staged container terminal development at its Mayfield site, which the company says is the largest and best connected vacant port land site on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Together with direct water frontage and potential for deep water berthing, the Newcastle Container Terminal represents a once in a generation opportunity within the Port of Newcastle, the company says.
The Mayfield site has the capacity for a 2 million TEU per annum container terminal, coupled with a shipping channel that can accommodate vessels up to 10,000 TEU, with the capability of even larger vessels with some ancillary channel modifications.
Newcastle is an efficient option for importers and exporters in northern, western, north western and far western NSW.
A Newcastle Container Terminal would deliver substantial cost savings for NSW exporters and importers, save the NSW government billions in infrastructure spending and help reduce Sydney road and rail congestion.
Report quantifies benefits at $6 billion
In a report released on 11 December 2018, economic consultants AlphaBeta quantified the potential economic benefits to the NSW economy of $6 billion by 2050 and 750,000 truck movements off Sydney roads.
The report examined the economic impact of opening a container terminal at Port of Newcastle. It found the NCT would increase NSW Gross State Product (GSP) by $6 billion by 2050. Over half of the $6 billion in new economic value for the state would come from lower freight costs. Customers would save $2.8 billion in land transport costs in Port of Newcastle’s potential market by 2050 through shorter journeys and more efficient operations.
The average land transport journey to port for northern NSW exporters (compared with Botany) would nearly halve. Meanwhile, customers served by Port Botany would save $1.2 billion in freight costs as competitive pressure leads to lower prices. Sydney would also benefit from less freight traffic on its roads. This would create $500 million in extra value from avoided infrastructure spending, and reduced congestion and pollution costs (see Exhibit 3.).

Opening a container terminal in Newcastle would also have broader economic and social benefits, including stimulating exports and jobs in the Hunter Region and Northern NSW. Key sectors, such as agriculture, food processing and advanced manufacturing, would see exports grow in value by an extra $800 million by 2050. More than 4,600 jobs would be created in the Hunter Region and Northern NSW by 2050, in industries as diverse as transport, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and local services.
Adding a container terminal to Port of Newcastle could generate $2.8 billion in freight savings to importers and exporters in the Newcastle, Hunter and Northern regions of NSW by 2050. Currently, importers and exporters are served by Port Botany in Sydney or Port of Brisbane.
Both ports are hundreds of kilometres from the origin or destination points of freight in the Hunter Region and Northern NSW, an area responsible for about a sixth of imports and exports in NSW.
Opening a container terminal in Newcastle would nearly halve the average overland freight journey in these areas, immediately reducing transportation costs for imports and exports.
As Port of Newcastle will be home to a new, fully automated container terminal with an integrated intermodal terminal facility, it would also introduce productivity improvements in freight handling, generating further savings for Hunter Region and Northern NSW customers. If all freight customers in the potential addressable market switched to being served from Newcastle, the cumulative savings would be equivalent to $2.8 billion in additional GSP in NPV terms by 2050.
Potential market for Port of Newcastle
This study defines the potential market as NSW regions that are more cost-effectively served from Port of Newcastle than from alternative ports such as Port Botany, Port of Brisbane, and Port of Melbourne.
Importantly, the report did not consider the potential benefits that could be gained by actively promoting the Newcastle container port to Sydney-based businesses.
 

Snack Brands to anchor $400m Sydney site

Universal Robina Corporation-owned Snack Brands Australia has committed to both a pre-lease facility and adjacent land sale for a site area of 10.42 hectares in Erskine Park with Altis. This new commitment as part of their supply chain transformation with consultancy firm TM Insight, is one of the largest industrial property deals in the last 12 months.
The 30,255 square-metre pre-lease facility, located on First Estate Mamre Road Erskine Park, will be situated on land four times the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and have an end value in excess of $400 million.
The new state-of-the-art distribution centre will transform the supply chain network for the iconic snacks company whose brands include CC’s, Thins, Kettle, The Natural Chip Company, Cheezels and Jumpy’s.
The pre-lease facility will comprise a significant 35-metre high-bay section to the building and is being developed with leading-edge technology to create an automated warehousing and distribution system.
Supply chain director at Snack Brands Neville Tapp said: “This facility will support our growth strategies and enable us to enhance our customer service at the lowest possible cost.  We are excited about working with Altis and the team at TM Insight to deliver this project over the coming years.”
Global supply chain and property consultancy TM Insight worked alongside Snack Brands in the development of the concept plan for the new site. After understanding the business case metrics, TM Insight ran the property procurement process and will be project managing the delivery of the new facility.
Director of TM Insight Travis Erridge said: “This is a significant step forward for Snack Brands in efficient operations for its customers.
“Snack Brands is investing in its future with a world class facility and has looked at all options to determine the best solution that meets both their current and future distribution requirements. Property specifications were found on the back of a robust business case and operational design completed inhouse.
“TM Insight developed the business case, ran the property procurement process and will also project manage the build. This end-to-end service ensures Snack Brands have a partner throughout the process that will make certain the facility is delivered to its highly technical specifications with the integration of automation in the building structure,” he said.
Stage one of the development will be operational in Quarter 4 2020.

Fuel security: how long would we have?

A potential crisis caused by the nation’s lack of strategic fuel reserves and over-reliance on foreign petroleum supplies could be addressed by restoring a fleet of Australian-owned tankers, according to a new report.
Written by maritime consultant John Francis, former director of the Maritime Transport Policy Centre at the Australian Maritime College, Australia’s Fuel Security: Running on Empty examines solutions to the risk of the nation grinding to a halt if fuel supplies are impacted by a global economic shock or conflict along major trade routes.
Commissioned by the Maritime Union of Australia, the report provides a detailed estimate of the number of tankers required to maintain supplies, along with the cost, per litre, of using Australian-owned and crewed tankers.
The report warns that Australia’s reliance on foreign flagged tankers “removes any opportunity for the Commonwealth to be able to requisition national flag tankers if necessary to secure minimum import or coastal distribution requirements following major economic or geopolitical disruptions to oil markets… ”
“The cost of addressing this risk is comparatively low: even carrying Australia’s entire import volume on a fleet of Australian tankers would cost less than one extra cent per litre.”
The report outlines major industry and policy shifts that have seen Australia go from producing and refining most of its fuel needs at the turn of the century, to an overwhelming reliance on foreign imports. Last financial year, 91 per cent of Australia’s refined petroleum was imported or produced from imported oil, while more than half involved ‘just-in-time shipments’ on vessels carrying finished petrol, diesel, jet fuel and other products. Of the 677 tankers that visited Australia in 2017, not one was owned, managed or crewed by Australians.
It also highlights the fact that Australia is the only International Energy Agency member country that fails to meet its 90-day fuel stockholding obligation, which has been the case since early 2012, with government statistics showing fuel reserves are generally less than three weeks.
Mr Francis produced detailed costings, per litre of cargo, for a range of scenarios involving the use of tankers owned, managed and crewed by Australians, finding this additional cost could be spread across the entire import volume to provide a “very modest cost per litre.
“The cost of five Australian ships spread across the projected import volume … in 2018-19 results in a cost of less than one-tenth of a cent per litre.
“Even if the whole future import volume covered by 60 ships, the cost is less than 1 cent per litre,” he found.
With more than 90 per cent of petroleum products shipped to Australia on foreign tankers — much of it through potential conflict zones — MUA deputy national secretary Will Tracey said Australia was sleepwalking into a major fuel security crisis.
“The government’s own statistics show that across Australia we have less than three weeks of fuel reserves,” Mr Tracey said.
“In the worst case scenario, a major economic crisis or a conflict that disrupts the supply chain — such as in the South China Sea — could cut fuel supplies, leaving us with just three weeks in reserve before transport systems collapse, food supplies are impacted, and essential services cut.
“At the turn of the century, there were 12 Australian-owned tankers supplying our fuel needs, but this entire fleet has been lost, replaced with an almost-total reliance on foreign imports of crude and refined petroleum products.
“In May, the Turnbull government finally announced a National Energy Security Assessment would be undertaken to examine declining domestic production, diminishing refining capacity, and the risks posed by potential flashpoints in the Middle East and South China Sea.
“To be comprehensive, this risk assessment must also examine the risk of relying entirely on foreign-flagged vessels, rather than having tankers owned, managed and crewed by Australians.
“This report, by a leading maritime expert, shows that this is an extremely cost-effective option that would improve fuel security while having an imperceptible impact on prices.”
A copy of “Australia’s fuel security: It’s running on empty” is available here.

What skills will the supply chain of the future need?

Blockchain technology, mass customisation, the demand for ethical practice and traceability are just some of the drivers rapidly changing how supply chains operate right around the world. As a direct consequence, the skills needed by individual workers are also evolving and while many are specific to a particular industry or process, others are recognised as being transferable between industries or common to several elements of a supply chain.
The Cross Sector Supply Chain Skills Project has been commissioned by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). Its goal is to develop a series of skill sets and units of competency for those supply chain skills common to a range of industry sectors and in doing so, support the mobility of skilled labour and agility of the Australian workforce. It will enable the many individuals working along different parts of the supply chain to be skilled to the same world class standards and as a consequence, increase industry’s efficiency and productivity.
Ultimately, the cross sector skill sets and units of competency will be signed-off by the AISC and from that point on, form the basis for nationally recognised training throughout Australia in those skills.
Work is being led by a Project Reference Group comprising representatives from across a range of diverse industries. Oversight is by the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee. Technical expertise and project management is by Australian Industry Standards.
How can you get involved?
It’s essential that the industry makes its voice heard on the skills needed by Australia’s supply chains. The 13 new draft units on which the committee really value your feedback are:

  • Establish blockchain in a supply chain.
  • Enable traceability in a supply chain.
  • Compliance in supply chains.
  • Manage outsourced supply chain operations.
  • Monitor ethical supply chain practices.
  • Supply chains supporting mass customisation.
  • Customer focussed supply chains.
  • Monitor digital supply chain services.
  • Build digital supply chain capability in the workforce.
  • Lead digital supply chain implementation.
  • Employ supply chain risk management practices.
  • Stock control and receivals.
  • Manage stock and inventory systems.

Commenting on the draft units is completed online through a quick and easy process. An interactive model is used whereby once registered, you simply read through the unit/s you’re interested in, click on the word or sentence that you want to comment on and type your feedback in situ.
The draft units will be available for comment until Monday, 7 January 2019. If you’d like to read more about the work underway go to the project-specific website.
 

Rail sector skills crisis looming

A fast-developing skilled labour crisis in the rail sector will deliver a substantial blow-out in project costs and delivery delays to rail projects in Australia and New Zealand over the next ten years, according to BIS Oxford Economics in a report commissioned by the Australasian Railways Association.
CEO Danny Broad said: “The report is a call to action to government and industry.
“Immediate corrective action to fill skills gaps with fit-for-purpose training is needed to avoid these blow-outs.
“Investment of over $100 billion in rail projects by Australian governments over the next ten years will be undermined by shortages of skilled labour that dramatically impact the construction of new rail systems, and our capacity to operate them,” Mr Broad said.
“The next ten years will herald a renaissance of rail in Australia – important urban passenger projects such as the Melbourne and Sydney Metros, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Perth’s Metronet and multiple light rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment as well as crucial freight projects such as Inland Rail, which will provide a direct freight link from Brisbane to Melbourne.
“Unless we address shortages due to market failure, attrition and unsuitable training arrangements, projects will blow out in terms of delivery and cost.
“Modelling shows that in 2023, the peak of the construction phase, we may have workforce gaps of up to 70,000 people,” he warned.
The report recommends the establishment of a high-level taskforce of government, industry, and education providers with a three-pronged focus:

  1. Facilitate the development and maintenance of an Australasian rail industry pipeline of rail projects to map skilled labour required across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance. The ANZIP pipeline, established by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which enjoys financial backing from both the Australian and NZ governments, should be adapted and refined for this purpose.
  2. Develop a National Rail Industry Skills Development Strategy to drive reform in education and training systems and practices that increase the availability of required skills, their productivity, transferability, and mobility while retaining a commitment to quality and safety.
  3. Boost awareness and attraction of rail careers. The need to attract skills and career aspirants to the rail industry is widely recognised. Industry has a significant responsibility in this regard. The taskforce should add its weight to initiatives such as establishing ‘branding partnerships’ with related industries across transport, mining and manufacturing.

The Australasian Railway Association engaged BIS Oxford Economics to undertake a workforce capability analysis for the rail industry based on planned and forecast rail infrastructure development in Australia and New Zealand over the next 10 years, with implications for a range of rail industry skills across construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance.
Through expansive stakeholder and industry engagement and extensive data analytics, the report explores skills shortages over the coming decade, key threats to workforce capability, and what government and industry can do to respond to meet the challenges of delivering on the significant rail infrastructure and rolling stock investment.
The report can be found at www.ara.net.au/ara-skills-capability-study. The Australasian Railways Association represent more than 145 member organisations including passenger and freight operators; track owners and managers; suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and consultants. Members include listed and private rail-related companies, government agencies and franchisees.

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