Opposition pledges to encourage locally-built trains

Image: ABC Central Victoria

The federal opposition yesterday announced a plan to encourage the use of locally-manufactured rail transport.

The Bendigo Advertiser reports that shadow industry minister Kim Carr and Bendigo MP Lisa Chalmers made the announcement at the Bendigo Rail Workshops, currently used for maintenance.

Senator Carr said a National Passenger Rail Procurement Strategy was inspired by the Victorian government’s policy, and it would encourage the use of Australian rail and rolling stock. It would be developed within 12 months of being elected, should the opposition win the July 2 election.

“This is taxpayer money, after all, and it is only reasonable that we should be supporting Australian industry, not sending contracts off-shore to Spain as has happened in New South Wales in recent times,” the Advertiser reports him as saying.

According to the Labor’s infrastructure spokesman, the rail sector is – like the shipbuilding industry – strategically important to maintain and subject to stop/start building difficulties.

Local Liberal candidate Megan Purcell said the government had committed $1.3 billion to the viability of advanced manufacturing.

“It’s great to say you support local manufacturing, but I am concerned that Labor and Lisa Chesters are yet to commit to the Turnbull Liberal government’s Defence White Paper, which secures local jobs and is so important to the advanced manufacturing industry in central Victoria,” she said.