The NSW government has awarded a $2.3 billion contract for 500 intercity train carriages to a multinational consortium, with the trains to be made in South Korea.
AAP reports that the first batch of intercity trains would be delivered in 2019, with the tender awarded to the RailConnect Consortium. This group included UGL, Hyundai Rotem and Mitsubishi Electric Australia.
Andrew Constance, the state transport minister, said the winning bid offered a 25 per cent cost advantage.
If I didn’t go with this winning bid you’d be criticising me the other way,” the ABC reports him as saying.
Of course everyone is pro-Australian manufacturing and jobs but at the same time you’ve got to weigh it up, in terms of cost and in terms of technology.”
The NSW opposition and unions criticised the lack of local content requirements.
Victoria there is a minimum 50 per cent requirement for local rolling stock orders. Here in NSW, nothing,” said opposition leader Luke Foley.
The Baird Government is completely disinterested in supporting local manufacturing and local jobs.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said the decision was a “betrayal”, and the money should be spent on local workers and communities and has also branded the State Government a “job killer” over the decision.
Maintenance will occur at Kangy Angy, on the central coast.
AMWU spokesman Tim Ayres said the local maintenance jobs on the Central Coast were nothing to crow about.
“It’s a smokescreen designed to obscure the fact that they are killing an Australian industry,” he said.
“Maintenance of trains happens in Australia because you can’t send a train on a plane to be maintained in China, I bet they would if they could.”
The carriages on the new trains will have charging stations for mobile devices at each seat, two-by-two seating arrangements and wider, more comfortable seats.