Local support for train maker Alstom is universal in the lead-up to the much anticipated high capacity rail tender announcement.
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Alstom Ballarat, part of Eureka Rail Consortium, is one of three groups waiting on the state government’s announcement of a $2 billion contract that would see the successful bidder construct 65 high capacity trains.
The long-term future of the Ballarat facility will be secured if Alstom is to win the next major contract.
The contract is also crucial for Ballarat and surrounding businesses, given the project is mandated with a 50 per cent local build requirement.
Alstom already uses a significant number of local services and materials for its current production of the X’Trapolis trains, which service Melbourne’s metro network.
Dandenong-based Bombardier factory and Evolution Rail (which includes Chinese state-owned manufacturer Changchun Railway Vehicles) are the other two shortlisted companies.
Western Victoria MP Joshua Morris said it’s crucial that the contract is awarded locally.
“If the government wants to claim that the trains are built in Victoria, by Victorians, they must back up their words with actions,” Mr Morris said.
“If Alstom’s Ballarat workshop wins the contract it would ensure the certainty of operations in our city for at least eight years.”
A spokesperson for Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan did not say when the contracts would be announced.
Wendouree MP Sharon Knight declined to comment on the current tender process, but said Alstom is a crucial part of Ballarat’s industry sector.
”I’ve always been a really strong advocate for local industries and that includes Alstom,” Ms Knight said.
“In the very first (state) budget we gave them he five train set build and another another five in the next budget (earlier this year).
“That actually kept those jobs in Ballarat and it kept the local suppliers going.”
“The quality of their work is second to none. They make their trains on budget and often ahead of time.
Ms Knight also acknowledged Alstom’s input into the Ballarat community, with the company’s training and mentorship programs praised by the government earlier this year.
An Alstom spokesperson declined to comment on the tender process.
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