Daniel Andrews’ train plan good news for manufacturers

Victorian manufacturers stand to benefit greatly from the Victorian
government’s Dandenong rail project, according to the AMWU.

As the Age reports, on Tuesday Victorian Premier announced a
revised plan to upgrade the rail line. The project will now remain under public
control and will include 37 new high-capacity trains, instead of the 25 trains
planned by the former Napthine Government.

In addition, the government has promised that there will be at
least 50 per cent local content in the new trains plus the four new stations to
be built.

AMWU Assistant State Secretary Craig Kelly said that should
mean hundreds of skilled manufacturing jobs, just as the industry faced
downturns in auto and aluminium.

“This is terrific news, a tribute to our members’ efforts
and resulting in the 37 trains with 296 carriages plus major rail
infrastructure,” he said in a statement.

“As the Premier has priorisited local content, we urge train
manufacturers and associated businesses in Victoria tendering for these
contracts to raise the bar well beyond the 50 per cent minimum to improve their
chances.”

He pointed out that there would be further jobs created by
the plans to remove all level crossings from the line, upgrade signalling, and
create a new train depot and rail maintenance facility at Pakenham.

According to AAP, the cost of the project is likely to be between
$2.5 billion to $3.5 billion. This is higher than Napthine Government’s plan which
was costed at $2.5 billion.

Last month, Andrews announced that the Victorian
Government would purchase 30 new train carriages from Alstom, a Ballarat
manufacturing company which has been struggling to survive.