Strong $A no barrier to local manufacturing

A $303 million order for Bombardier Transportation Australia for the supply of 50 trams for Victoria sends a strong signal that local manufacturing continues to compete strongly with international manufacturing, according to South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA).

A $303 million order for Bombardier Transportation Australia for the supply of 50 trams for Victoria sends a strong signal that local manufacturing continues to compete strongly with international manufacturing, according to South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA).

This new deal for Bombardier for 50 FLEXITY low floor trams is positive news for Australian manufacturing, in spite of the strong $A, says manufacturing lobby group, SEMMA.

Bombardier’s bid featured 51 per cent local content, and is expected to lead to the creation of 500 new jobs in the region.

According to SEMMA, this is in stark contrast to the 2007 order placed by the then Government with French firm Alstom, to manufacture and supply 18 new trains, which SEMMA lobbied against given that the trains were to be manufactured entirely in France with no local industry involvement.

“Contrast that with this situation where we have manufacturing happening here in the region, creating local jobs, using local suppliers and with a maintenance contract which runs through 2017,” said SEMMA president, Russell La Combre.

The first FLEXITY trams are scheduled to be delivered in 2012.

“The win is particularly encouraging given the current strength of the Australian dollar. This sends a strong signal to local manufacturers that if they have a quality product and demonstrated capability they can take on the world,” he said.

Established in 2003 SEMMA now has 170 local manufacturing organisations on its books and has become a powerful lobbying and industry networking group in Victoria.

The win for Bombardier is particularly welcomed as it marks the return of tram manufacturing to Australia.

“Two thirds of Melbourne’s trams have been supplied by Bombardier and have provided Melbourne’s commuters with excellent service,” said Dan Osborne, managing director of Bombardier Transportation Australia.

“The FLEXITY Melbourne tram fleet will see the resumption of tram production in Australia after a 12 year break and provide opportunities for our local supply chain to participate.”