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Multi-billion Dollar Investment in Infrastructure to Create Thousands of Jobs for WA

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The Western Australian Government, with vital financial support from the Commonwealth Government, is investing approximately $A4 billion ($US2.8 billion) to develop 72 kilometres (45 miles) of railway line throughout Western Australia.

The government has established Metronet, an agency of the Public Transport Authority in Western Australia, to oversee extensions to Perth’s transport network. 

The project will overturn 5,000 hectares of land around 18 new railway stations to construct railway lines as well as build desirable places to live. The multi-billion dollar investment will also create thousands of jobs and improved amenities throughout the state. 

“We are creating a pipeline of work to boost our local manufacturing industry and maximise WA jobs,” Premier Mark McGowan said. “We are transforming Perth’s public transport network.”

The project will overturn 5,000 hectares of land around 18 new railway stations to construct railway lines.

The Western Australian Government has allocated $A536 million to extend the Thornlie Line to Cockburn Station on the Mandurah Line, including two new stations at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road. 

There also is an $A420 million allocation to extend the northern suburbs rail line to Yanchep. The investment includes three stations at Yanchep, Eglinton and Alkimos, as well as bus interchanges and park and ride facilities. The WA Planning Commission will spend a further $A100 million on other developments.

Part of the funding will be allocated to the construction of 246 new Metronet railcars, which will be built over 10 years. For that purpose, a new manufacturing facility at Bellevue (eastern suburbs of Perth) will be built, with the successful tenderer to be announced later this year.

The Midland-Bellevue area will be involved in the production of new trains and their ongoing maintenance works, creating sustainable local jobs for local people and supporting ongoing expansion of our vital passenger rail network,” Rita Saffioti, Minister for Transport and Planning, said. 

The first stage of the project involves the delivery of 102 new railcars (17 six-car sets) in 2021. They will service the new Metronet projects as they come online.

A follow-on order for 144 railcars (24 six-car sets) will also be included in the tender. They will replace the ageing A-series railcars and are expected to be delivered between 2023 and 2028.

Civil project managers, engineers, designers, assembly technicians, machine operators and production supervisors are just some of the jobs that will be advertised. However, considering the wide array of infrastructure projects already in progress around Australia, Western Australia will run into a strong competition to attract workers. 

Civil project managers, engineers, designers, assembly technicians, machine operators and production supervisors are just some of the jobs that will be advertised.

Across the nation, there are 10 major rail projects that have either started or been approved. Amongst them, there is the Sydney Metro railway line development—an $A20 billion investment, building 66 kilometres of railway line. 

The NSW Government is also investing billions of dollars into the development of two light rail lines—one in the CBD/south-east of the city and the other in Parramatta (western suburbs of Sydney). Meanwhile, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra are all planning substantial upgrades to their railway lines. 

More than 3,000 jobs will be created when Metronet is at its peak. Therefore, the works will require interstate and overseas workers. 

“We simply are going to struggle to attract the rail talent and the civil infrastructure talent generally, which includes civil project managers, designers and engineers, to Western Australia,” Chris Kent, WA regional director of Hays Recruitment, said.

During the mining boom in Western Australia, a significant portion of workers were secured from the eastern states of Australia. However, with a plethora of railway construction work already happening throughout Australia, the talent pool is already thin and this is unlikely to be the case now.  

The Western Australian Government’s plan to combat the inevitable skill shortage is to ultimately combine up to two projects into one tender.

The employment website Seek has revealed that in the past 12 months, from May 2018 to May 2019, job advertisements for railway roles has grown 43 per cent. 

The Western Australian Government’s plan to combat the inevitable skill shortage is to combine up to two projects into one tender, thereby making it easier for the winning bidders to recruit specialist workers as the tender will run for many years. 

Other organisations, such as Rail Systems Australia, are launching their own graduate programs. 

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