Updated February 2018
The construction, maintenance and management of Australia’s railways provides a major source of employment for engineers, and a significant driver of engineering activity. The industry employs engineers both directly through the private and government rail operators, and indirectly through the engagement of consulting firms. Employees in this sector are involved in the scoping, design, construction and maintenance of railways and rail assets, including urban railways, CBD tunnels, inter-city rail services and signalling equipment. While road infrastructure typically receives a greater share of funding a media coverage, quality rail networks play a vital role in limiting congestion and enabling productivity.
The sector is also heavily reliant government spending decisions at federal and state levels. Government cuts to spending can often harm the industry, while a focus on economic growth and jobs often requires investment in productivity enabling infrastructure such as rail. While the level of investment has fluctuated over the past five years, there are some positive signs of growth for the industry.