COVID-19 Update

The rail industry has continued to provide essential services to the public during COVID-19. We thank the many people within our industry that have introduced new measures to keep our trains, trams and light rail services going and to make sure vital freight connections were available to get goods where they were needed most.

The ARA has worked closely with its members during this time to ensure a whole of industry response to COVID-19. We continue to meet regularly with our members as we move to the recovery phase to ensure the rail industry can continue to support our economy and communities.

COVID-19 member survey

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) surveyed 58 Australian and New Zealand rail suppliers, contractors and freight operators in April about the impact of COVID-19 on their business.  Key findings included:

  • Constraints on the international shipment of goods and a decline in customer spending were the biggest impacts of COVID-19 on the rail industry
  • The most important thing governments could do to support the recovery was maintain their project pipeline
  • There is a significant opportunity for local manufacturing and production, with 75 per cent of participants considering changes to their supply chain planning to seek more suppliers within Australia or their home state

To view the survey results and see how our members are preparing for recovery, click here.

Advocating for the rail industry during COVID-19

The ARA has been engaging with government regularly on the unique issues facing the rail industry during COVID-19.

The ARA highlighted the importance of rail freight being deemed an essential service and made exempt from state and territory border controls. The Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) has since released a communique committing to keeping freight and freight dependent activities running during this time.

We continue to advocate for infrastructure construction in the industry to continue, and the importance of maintaining a resilient rail supply chain. ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie met with the COVID-19 Coordination Commission to discuss rail recovery plans as part of this process.

Stimulus projects

According to our members, maintaining the current project pipeline and funding new stimulus projects are the two most important decisions governments can take to support the rail industry in the wake of COVID-19. The ARA has identified a number of stimulus projects across the country that will ensure the sustainability of the industry and create jobs to support our recovery. The Board and management team have met with a number of federal, state and territory ministers to discuss proposed stimulus measures.

We have also welcomed the announcement that the Regional Rail Revival Program in Victoria will receive additional funding. You can read our media release here

Valuable Resources

The following publicly available resources include useful information that may be relevant to businesses operating in the rail industry: