The rail sector in Australia is experiencing an industry ‘boom’ period, with construction projects receiving significant investment from the Australian Government. The growth in the sector is primarily driven by the significant pressure on Australia’s transport network caused by a growing and urbanized population, and the aging infrastructure that requires renewal over time.

International companies with expertise and experience supplying products and services to the international rail markets may find opportunities in Australia across multiple channels including rolling stock manufacture, maintenance, and rail construction etc.

According to the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy released in November 2023, Australian state and territory governments are set to invest approximately A$19 billion (~US$12.6bn) in rolling stock between 2023 and 2032. This investment includes around 500 new passenger trains and light rail vehicles across thirteen known current procurements in six states and two territories. While almost two-thirds (65%) of the new rolling stock is expected to be manufactured in Australia, the remaining 35% is expected to be imported.

Australia is a net importer of rolling stock and components with the average value of imports of over A$1.1 billion (~US$730m) over the last decade (IBISWorld 2023).

Outside of the opportunities in rolling stock, there is A$129 billion (~US$84.8bn) in rail civil construction and maintenance is forecast for the coming decade to 2031-32, up from approx. A$96 billion (~US$63.1bn) over the last decade. Over the next 15 years, A$154 billion (~US$101bn) in rail construction work is expected.

Beyond regular passenger and freight rail, high-speed rail is also a major priority on the Australian Government’s agenda with a High Speed Rail Authority established in June 2023.

Several high-profile projects are currently underway across the country, including:

  • The A$21 billion (~US$13.8bn) Sydney Metro, Australia’s biggest public transport project with a network of 4 metro lines, 46 stations and 113km (~70mi) of new metro rail expected to be completed by 2030.
  • The A$125 billion (~US$82bn) Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop, with 90km (~56mi) of new rail line and 15 new stations circling Melbourne, is expected to be fully complete by 2035.
  • The A$5.4 billion (~US$3.5bn) Cross Rover Rail Project in Brisbane, which includes a new 10.2km (~6.3mi) rail line with 5.9km (~3.7mi) of twin tunnels.
  • The A$5.9 billion (~US$3.8bn) METRONET passenger rail project in Perth, which includes 23 new stations, removal of 16 level crossings and 72km (~45mi) of new rail.

International companies that have expertise and experience in supplying equipment, services and solutions to the international rail sector may find opportunities to win business in this region as projects continue to move forward and gain momentum.

Companies may also benefit by travelling to Australia and participating in AusRail, the region’s largest conference and exhibition dedicated to the rail sector. AusRail 2024 is scheduled to take place on 25-27 November on the Gold Coast. The recent 2023 Sydney event welcomed 6000+ attendees.

Any qualified companies that are interested in finding out more about doing business in Australia are encouraged to reach out to Foley to discuss the market and explore options on the next steps.

Please reach out to:

Chris Evans | Principal Consultant | E:

March 2024