Constance’s manufacturing excuses are hurting regional communities

The NSW Government’s hostility towards domestic transport manufacturing is hurting regional communities and undermining the national economic recovery, according to the rail union.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) National Secretary Mark Diamond today said the Prime Minister needed to bring NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance into line.

“Andrew Constance once bragged about his plan to privatise or automate every single public transport job in NSW.

“Now Mr Constance is trying to blame workers for his decisions to source trains, trams, buses and ferries from overseas.

“This is an unbelievable position for a senior politician to take when Australia is experiencing its first recession in 30 years and jobs are being lost all over the place.

“Australians need their politicians to back them up. They need politicians who believe in local industry, and who understand how a healthy manufacturing sector can be the bedrock of successful regional economies.”

Made for Australian conditions

Mr Diamond said states such as Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia were all creating local jobs through procurement policies that gave opportunities to Australian manufacturers.

“When you’re buying locally-made trains, trams, buses and ferries you know they are going to meet Australian standards and suit Australian conditions.

“They’re not going to contain asbestos, they’re going to fit through tunnels, and they’ll even get under bridges - all problems the NSW Government has faced with foreign built junk.”

Prime Minister must show leadership

Mr Diamond said a national approach to rail procurement and rail manufacturing should be high on the agenda of the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board.

“Rail manufacturing and maintenance is $3 billion industry in Australia, and employs over 5,000 people – but it could be much bigger.

“NSW is letting down the rest of the country when it comes to supporting Australian manufacturing jobs.

“The Prime Minister needs to show some leadership and drive this agenda from the top.”