The decision by the Baird Government not to mandate any local manufacturing or materials in the new intercity train fleet contract will mean up to 1,200 potential new jobs for NSW will head offshore.
The announcement today of joint venture Railconnect’s successful bid for the $2.3 billion project to build and maintain a new fleet of intercity trains is a devastating blow to the domestic manufacturing industry.
Industrial hubs in the Illawarra, Hunter and Western Sydney would all have stood to gain from a Government mandate to include local manufacturing and materials as part of the project.
In Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government has a specific policy which mandates 50 per cent local content in all rolling stock orders.
The decision by the Baird Government jeopardises the future of rail manufacturing in NSW and flies in the face of the recent decision by the Turnbull Government to support Australian jobs through submarine contracts.
Labor is calling on the Government to explain why no effort was made by the Liberals and Nationals to ensure more of the benefits of the multi-billion contract flowed to NSW.
One of the unsuccessful bidders – Stadler Australia – was planning to create 600 new jobs in the Illawarra through a new commissioning and maintenance facility. Those jobs will never come to fruition.
Similarly, Illawarra steel makers are likely to be shut out of making competitive bids to provide local steel.
The Illawarra has a soaring youth unemployment rate of 15.7 per cent. A contract of this size would have had the potential to create hundreds of apprenticeships and skilled jobs.
Earlier this year, Labor announced a plan to protect local manufacturing jobs by mandating 90 per cent Australian steel in major government infrastructure projects.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park
“It’s another kick in the guts for the Illawarra from Mike Baird’s boot.
“Gareth Ward came out in the media saying he was ‘doing everything I can’ to bring jobs to the Illawarra through this massive government contract. Clearly it’s an epic fail.
“Only Labor has a plan for the Illawarra that will support the local steel and manufacturing industries.”