THE WESTERN Australian government plans to set up a new centre in the Pilbara to boost local freight railcar manufacturing.

The government on Thursday announced a $998,000 funding package for the establish the Rail Collaboration Centre in Karratha with hubs in Newman and Perth.

The RCC is expected to generate opportunities for local manufacturing, new industry activity, create jobs and localise training opportunities.

And the funding would support the assembly, manufacture, servicing, research and development of rail freight wagons to take place locally.

Funding was made available under the state government’s Local Manufacturing Investment Fund (LMIF).

Minister assisting the WA minister for state and industry development Stephen Dawson the centre would provide a huge boost to local manufacturing of rail freight wagons.

“This is another major initiative through the Cook government’s Local Manufacturing Investment Fund and supports our rail industry,” he said.

“Being able to locally assemble, manufacture, service, carry out research and development, and drive innovation for wagons, are fantastic developments for the Pilbara region.

“The LMIF provides a boost to local companies and ensures our state remains competitive in an ever-changing market, putting WA at the forefront of new technologies and innovations.”

The funding would assist the CORE Innovation Hub, which will operate the centre independently as a partner of the Australasian Rail Association.

The CORE Innovation Hub also intends to take guidance from members of their Heavy Haul Executive Committee, which represents major heavy haul operators.

The WA government’s $15 million LMIF is part of an election commitment to support local companies to enhance their competitiveness.