Union boss backs Rocky workers for QR manufacturing jobs
A PLETHORA of design faults with Queensland Rail trains have come under scrutiny as the Queensland Government plays the blame game over the $4.4 billion contract with India.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union today jumped on the political train wreck, calling on the state's leaders to drop the party politics and re-shore the jobs to Queensland workers after 13 of the 75 trains ordered arrived with compliance faults.
AMWU Queensland and Northern Territory secretary Rohan Webb slammed opposition leader Tim Nicholls and former LNP Transport Minister Scott Emerson, claiming they had taken jobs away from capable Queensland workers.
Mr Webb said the Rockhampton rail workshop's skilled workforce and infrastructure could meet the order, but conceded it would come at a higher cost.
"Firstly, they're direct jobs it could create in places like Rockhampton, in Maryborough, Townsville, Ipswich,” he said.
"But its the multiplying effect in regards to the supply chain, it's the multiplying effect in regards to small businesses, when people have got money in their pocket because they are gainfully employed they spend money in their local economy.
"The multipliers in the economy are absolutely huge - yes it takes an investment, it does cost money to do so, but you have got to put in the money to do so.”
Mr Webb said the Queensland rail manufacturing industry had employed 600 people in the past, which had now dropped to less than 200.
Despite the union's outcry, Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell said no local tenders were submitted, despite encouragement to do so.
Mr Webb hit back and said the union was vocal when contracts were originally awarded to Bombardier and Qtectic for essentially half the price of local suppliers under the 2014 Newman Government.
The Government have halted train deliveries until problems with breaking, driver visibility, disability access, air-conditioning and ventilation are fixed.
Mr Webb held hope Queensland workers could still secure tenders for the contracts, saying he had seen governments "squirrel out of contracts” before.
He said if the 2014 contracts were not up to standard, he viewed that a "get out of jail clause”.