On 1 May 2017, as part of its inquiry into Australia's rail industry, the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee held its first public hearing, followed by a site visit to Downer Rail's Cardiff workshop in Newcastle, NSW.
During the hearing, the Committee heard evidence from representatives of the Centre for Future Work, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU), the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) and Lovells Springs Pty Ltd.
Following the hearing, the Committee had the opportunity to visit engineering company Downer's rail workshop site in Cardiff. The workshop provides technical support, as well as refurbishment, maintenance, technical and process innovation services to NSW's rail industry. As well as having the capacity to manufacture and maintain passenger rolling stock and freight rolling stock, Downer Rail currently holds contracts to maintain part of NSW's rail infrastructure.
General Manager, Gavin Foster provided the Committee with a tour of the site and the Committee was able to view, first hand, the refurbishment and maintenance work currently being undertaken on a fleet of passenger trains. The Committee was also provided with an overview of the type work that will be undertaken by Downers' structural engineers, spray painters, tradesmen and trades assistants over coming months.