WA Government announces funding boost for local manufacturing

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

The Western Australian Government will invest $92.4 million in a range of initiatives to boost local manufacturing and create new jobs across the State.

The investment, which is part of the WA Recovery Plan, will support the construction of a new diesel railcar maintenance facility and the establishment of an incentives program to make cathode active materials in lithium-ion batteries. Funding has also been allocated for a project that will deliver concrete manufacturing and local waste processing capabilities.

The WA Government said it would invest $40.1 million in a new diesel railcar maintenance facility, which will be situated at the site of the new world-class Bellevue facility, where the new 246 C-Series railcars will soon be manufactured, tested and maintained for decades to come.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti noted that the Bellevue plant is where Western Australia’s biggest ever order of railcars will be built, tested and maintained for decades to come.

“Around 250 railcars will be produced at Bellevue over the next decade, while it will also serve as a permanent maintenance facility for the expanded METRONET fleet,” the Minister said.

“This new $40 million diesel maintenance facility will be a new key element to the services provided at Bellevue and will provide local job and training opportunities for local Western Australians.

“The first stage of the Bellevue facility will be completed later this year with the first lot of new C-Series trains rolling out in late 2022.”

She said the McGowan Government will also form an action group to investigate the viability of manufacturing and maintaining iron ore railcar wagons in the Pilbara or other parts of WA.

The study, to be completed later this year, is expected to pinpoint initiatives that create long-term competitiveness of the steel fabrication industry in WA in supplying the iron ore sector to support jobs into the future, and explore maintenance opportunities linked to both new and existing ore wagon stock.

The $92.4 million package also includes $13.2 million in project funding to attract a global cathode active materials manufacturer to establish a production facility in WA.

The cathode active manufacturing initiative includes incentives to offset project costs, such as land lease rates on industrial land to help businesses establish and keep local jobs in WA.

Other initiatives part of the local manufacturing boost include $600,000 to assess viability of a Collie Eco-Concrete Processing Plant which will analyse the benefits of Collie based concrete manufacturing using waste fly-ash from coal powered stations instead of imported cement.

A further $15 million will be directed towards developing waste paper and cardboard processing capacity to support the COAG Waste Export Ban; and $20 million in grants and industrial land will also be made available to support the development of local waste processing capabilities and to implement the COAG Waste Export Ban.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the range of investments would boost local manufacturing and create a pipeline of jobs across the State.

“This package is about giving local businesses confidence to establish themselves, make local products and keep jobs here in WA,” the Premier said.

“Boosting our manufacturing industry means more local jobs, more training and more apprenticeship opportunities for Western Australians for generations to come.

“One of my Government’s key election commitments was to return railcar manufacturing back to the Midland area.

“We’re delivering on this and now we’re doing what we can to ensure we’re removing interruptions in supply chains and allowing local businesses to take advantage of the great manufacturing opportunities in our State,” he concluded.