REBOOT: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre), Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (2nd from left)  and Bruce Saunders, left, with workers at the Downer EDI Rail manufacturing plant in Maryborough earlier this month.
REBOOT: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (centre), Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (2nd from left) and Bruce Saunders, left, with workers at the Downer EDI Rail manufacturing plant in Maryborough earlier this month. DARREN ENGLAND

Downer reveals why it pulled out of rail contract tenders

COMPANY turmoil, not politics was behind the loss of Maryborough rail contracts despite claims from both major parties.

Downer says it was forced to pull out of a tender for rail contracts in 2010 when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was Transport Minister for the Bligh Government.

By the time Tim Nicholls was Treasurer for the Newman Government, Downer was not a contender.

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A spokesman from Downer Rail yesterday confirmed CEO Michael Miller withdrew from the process because the company "had lost $400 million on a NSW public-private partnership."

The company line is in stark contrast to the LNP and Labor war of words. The parties blame each other for tender loss, which resulted in the next generation of Rollingstock being sent to India.

Then Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Transport Minister Scott Emerson announced the trains would be built for half-price by Bombardier in Mumbai in 2014.

Mechanical problems, including braking issues, disability access, heating systems and air conditioning, soon emerged when the trains returned to Australia.

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has leveraged his campaign on the LNP being responsible for the train contracts being sent overseas.

But the LNP is adamant the fault is with Labor for Downer pulling out of the tender process at the time.

Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell said the company pulled out of the tender at a time when payment fees of up to $1 million were required.

Despite all this, the Permier and Bruce Saunders are currently riding on a high after pledging $150 million to repair the trains at Maryborough's Downer factory.

Maryborough LNP candidate Richard Kingston said the party supports more manufacturing in Queensland.

"Our Buy Local policy will mandate a Local Content Plan for projects over $100 million and provide a Price Match Guarantee," Mr Kingston said.

One Nation candidate James Hansen said all trains that run in Queensland would be build in Queensland if One Nation holds the balance of power.



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