MEDIA ALERT NEWCASTLE TUESDAY AMWU
RAIL WORKERS BACKING LABOR’S NATIONAL RAIL MANUFACTURING PLAN
7 May 2019
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) welcomes Labor’s commitment to reform and restructure rail procurement around Australia.
AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson said Labor’s National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Plan would better utilise existing rail manufacturing to service the needs of state governments and freight rail operators.
“Australia is a manufacturing country with existing heavy rail manufacturing capability which has been under-utilised and needs restructuring and greater co-ordination,” Mr Thompson said.
“Over the next two decades Australian governments will spend $100 billion on public transport rail expansion and it is important that they use Australian-based manufacturing and workers.”
“Overseas procurement has been plagued with problems including:
· NSW’s $2 billion Intercity Fleet ordered from South Korea but was too wide to fit through tunnels in the Blue Mountains;
· Queensland’s NGR fleet built in India, ordered by the Newman Government, has had to undergo mass refitting and refurbishment after a range of problems including disability toilets too small for wheelchair access; and
· The NSW Government’s continued blowouts with the bungled rollout of Sydney Light Rail.
Mr Thompson said rail manufacturing directly employed 5,000 workers in Australia with another 7,000 in the supply chain with many based in Bendigo, Newcastle and Maryborough.
“Labor’s National Rail Plan will re-energise rail manufacturing, contribute new career paths for apprentices and secure jobs for workers already in the industry,” he said.
“The Coalition has been missing in action on rail procurement with no plan for rail manufacturing and jobs.”
“Companies, workers and industry bodies have been crying out for stability and certainty but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has failed to understand the urgent need for action to reform the industry.”
“Poor planning, the lack of standardisation and each state ‘going it alone’ has created a procurement disaster with uncertainty about jobs.”
“The industry needs the peaks and troughs in orders for new work ironed out and a commitment to buy Australian instead of sending rail procurement and jobs offshore.”
Media comment Glenn Thompson 0419 689 932
Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079