It gives me great pleasure to join with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in moving a platform amendment to ensure that a future Labor Government will build trains for New South Wales in New South Wales.
Delegates, I have spent the last 18 months campaigning in the Parliament and throughout my community against the Liberal Government’s disastrous New Intercity Fleet project. It began under Gladys Berejiklian when she was Transport Minister, and which has been bungled every month since by her replacement, Andrew Constance.
The decision to buy so-called “off-the-shelf” trains from South Korea is not just an attack on highly skilled blue collar union jobs, it has been a disaster for taxpayers and commuters, because the trains don’t fit the tracks.
Not only are these new trains the wrong loading gauge for the Blue Mountains beyond Springwood, they are going to be built with fixed seating which is inadequate and inappropriate for long distance commuting, and they have been designed without a vestibule between the exterior doors and the passenger compartment.
It is clear that these trains have not been designed with long-distance commuting or for the often sub-zero Mountains climate in mind.
At every step of the way, the Berejiklian Government has stuffed this up.
For all of those who design, build, maintain and work on our railway, the Liberal Government is barrelling ahead with this botched project in spite of the stuff ups, because they are more interested in undermining the strong union workforces than they are in securing value for money for New South Wales taxpayers.
So, for all the guards, the drivers, the station staff, the infrastructure crews on our railways in New South Wales, we move this amendment today to signal Labor’s support for our local rail manufacturing industry.
We reaffirm our commitment to the highly skilled, unionised workforces in the Hunter and the Illawarra particularly, that will bear the brunt of the Liberals’ decision to offshore the New Intercity Fleet.
In the Labor Party, we know that New South Wales train manufacturing workers have the skills, the know-how and the experience to produce high quality trains that are fit-for-purpose, that fit the tracks and that provide value for money for New South Wales taxpayers.
We have learned from the disastrous mistakes of the New South Wales Liberal Government and we call upon a future Labor Government to ensure the long-term future of local rail manufacturing and jobs in New South Wales.
We need to call this failed contract back and we need to design and maintain our trains right here in New South Wales.