TasRail chose Chinese over local manufacturer because of cost

State-owned business TasRail did not choose a Tasmanian manufacturer to replace 200 of its train wagons because the Chinese firm that won the contract offered a significantly lower price.

TasRail Chief Executive Damien White told 7:30 Tasmania that the final price offered by local producers was “well over 50 per cent” higher than the price offered by the Chinese company.

He said that his organisation would have been willing to favour a local firm which was asking for a 10 per cent higher price, but the price offered was not competitive and would have affected expansion plans.

In august, the Tasmanian government instructed government departments to actively seek local companies for contracts, however this instruction did not extend to state-owned businesses.

Shadow Treasurer Peter Gutwein called for the policy to extend to state-owned businesses. 

“Government is one of the biggest purchasers in the state and it’s important to ensure that in the benefit of jobs and our own economy, that Tasmanian businesses get a fair go,” Gutwein said.

In brighter news, TasRail has received support for its plan to redevelop its facility at the Burnie port.

Burnie, in Tasmania’s north-west has been on the end of multiple redundancies of late. For example, mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced last week that it will cut 200 jobs from its Burnie plant.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, while the unemployment rate in Burnie is over 12 per cent, new industries are starting to expand.

There are a number of call centres in the city and there is expansion in the mining sector. In addition, within the north-west region, there is expansion in fish farms and berry farms. 

Image: TasRail