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Rail Industry Unveils Five-year Strategy For New Zealand

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has released its five-year strategic plan to foster a productive, efficient and thriving New Zealand rail industry.

The Aotearoa Strategy 2023-2028 centres on five strategic objectives and complements the Government’s New Zealand Rail Plan 2021 and increased investment in both freight and passenger rail.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said the Strategy brings industry together to collaborate on ways to increase rail’s share of the broader transport network.

“This Strategy will underpin efforts to promote the significant benefits rail has to offer the New Zealand community and economy and the important role it plays in the decarbonisation of transport,” Ms Wilkie said.

“The ARA is committed to working with the NZ Government and industry to increase use of freight and passenger rail by providing a deeper understanding of customer expectations and supporting reforms to improve the safety outcomes and regulatory environment for rail.”

The ARA launched the Strategy today at the New Zealand Rail Conference in Auckland.

The Strategy was developed following a strategic workshop held in June this year involving almost 40 leaders from across industry and government on how to better coordinate and unite the industry to improve the long-term future for rail.

“Like Australia, infrastructure resilience is key to a strong rail industry for the future, which is essential to meeting the country’s transport needs. We look forward to working with the NZ Government and industry to ensure that the infrastructure pipeline is fit for purpose and supports a sustainable local supply chain,” Ms Wilkie said.

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“The Strategy will guide the development of an evidence base to support ongoing investment, highlighting the importance of infrastructure resilience, as well as look at ways to strengthen career pathways into rail, grow capability and improve diversity.”

The five strategic objectives under the Aotearoa Strategy are:

  • A compelling mode of choice for passenger and freight
  • Customer focused by providing safe, seamless and connected journeys
  • A recognised and valued contributor to transport decarbonisation
  • Strengthened industry with a clear infrastructure investment pipeline, balancing urban and regional requirements
  • An innovative and dynamic industry, supporting a growing, skilled, and diverse workforce

To support the Strategy, the ARA will establish a new committee for the New Zealand rail industry and conduct further research to highlight the significant benefits rail has to offer New Zealand, as well as explore the future skills, diversity, and capability requirements needed to support the local industry.

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