New Generation Rollingstock trains.
New Generation Rollingstock trains. Contributed

Saunders welcomes probe of NGR train debacle

BRUCE Saunders has called for politicians to move on from playing the "blame game” over the New Generation Rollingstock train debacle as secret cabinet papers relating to the bungled train rollout are made public.

It follows the State Government, State Opposition leader Deb Frecklington and former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman agreeing last week to release documents detailing their involvement in the project.

Both Labor and the LNP have blamed each other over the years for the trains being sent overseas, resulting in major mechanical problems.

Mr Saunders has welcomed the move, saying he wanted to make sure the same situation never happened again.

"We need to make sure we get these polices fixed up, so we don't have another stuff-up of $4.4 billion of taxpayer's money,” Mr Saunders said.

"I'm not interested in playing the blame game, I want to find out what went wrong.

"No matter who's in government, we have to get the policies and procedures correct.”

An independent third party is likely to be appointed to go through the documents.

The NGR project, which began during the former Bligh government and continued under Campbell Newman, has been plagued with problems.

Rail company Downer EDI said it was forced to pull out of a tender for rail contracts in 2010 because of a $400 million loss on a NSW partnership.

At the time, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was Transport Minister for the Bligh Government.

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

By this time, Downer was not a contender for the contract.

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

Last year, Ms Palaszczuk announced 30 of the faulty trains will be repaired in Maryborough.

Mr Saunders said he was working through the contract with Downer, the State Government and train company Bombardier to get the work started as soon as possible.

But he could not name a start date.

"We need to make sure the companies meet all the requirements of the law when the first train comes through to the factory,” Mr Saunders said.



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