Future of rail topic of discussion during leader’s flying visit
THE future of rail in Australia was on the mind of Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese when he visited Maryborough’s Downer factory.
“Just a week ago they celebrated 150 years of manufacturing right here in Maryborough,” he said.
“What we have here is Australian jobs creating trains for Australians to travel on.
“It’s something that can’t be taken for granted, because one of the things this workshop is doing is retrofitting, fixing up the mistakes that were made when we contracted out under the Coalition state government to India to build trains, even though it can be done right here in Queensland.
“We need to keep Australian jobs in Australia wherever possible and this planet has been doing that for 150 years.”
Mr Albanese said what was needed was a national rail manufacturing strategy.
“We will take one to the next election, working with state and territory governments so we smooth out the manufacturing cycle,” he said.
“That will enable investment from companies like Downer and others in rail to make sure that jobs are created in a consistent way and it will also assist them to boost in terms of apprentices because they’ll have that certainty of those long-term contracts smoothing out the cycle and getting away from boom and bust.”
Mr Albanese said he had met a worker who had worked at Downer for 45 years, whose father had worked there for 50 years.
“It just shows that companies and businesses such as this here in Maryborough aren’t just about the trains, the steel, the natural assets that go into building trains, it’s about people.”