Daniel Andrews orders new trains from Ballarat manufacturer

The Victorian Government will purchase 30 new train
carriages from Alstom, a Ballarat manufacturing company which has been struggling to
survive.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Public Transport,
Jacinta Allan, joined Ballarat MPs Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard at Alstom’s factory
today to announce the purchase of the X’Trapolis trains.

“This investment is good for workers, good for Ballarat and
good for every single person who uses Melbourne’s train network,” Andrews said
in a statement.

In addition, the Government is planning a long-term rolling
stock strategy for Victoria, which is intended to provide certainty to industry
and workers. The strategy will be unveiled as part of the May Budget.

Alstom currently employs 70 workers. According to the Age, the
order will ensure the survival of the company until 2016.

Under the terms of the contract the new trains will include
around 40 per cent local content. The 30 carriages (or five full trains) will
be substantially built in Poland then assembled in Ballarat.

The company said it is possible that the percentage of local
work on the trains could be increased to 50 per cent.

Alstom Australia chief executive, Bernard Joyce told the ABC that without the contract, work at the factory would have dried up by September.

“This is very, very important for regional manufacturing
in Australia and also very important for the regional suppliers for us in
Victoria,” he said.

“The security [of the future of the facility] is
dependent on the order of trains for Victoria.

“There’s been some lumpiness or some variability in the
placing of orders, so through that time we’ve had to manage some lower periods
if you like.”

Image: Twitter – Daniel Andrews