Brumby calls for national train procurement

Victorian Premier John Brumby has urged state governments to team up for procuring trains and key infrastructure to protect the local manufacturing sector.

He argued the independent and discrete purchases being made by state governments would lift the price of Australian manufacturers, making the sector unviable in competitive global markets. 

“If you think of the billions of dollars – and that’s what you’re talking about – of rolling stock that will be procured in the next decade…by respective state governments – Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland together – it is a great opportunity to generate local jobs,” Mr Brumby told AAP.

“But it can’t happen if states just go it alone one after another, because it’s very, very difficult to compete against the big manufacturers in Europe who’ve got long, forward (production) pipelines at work.”

He stressed the national infrastructure procurement plan needed the Federal Government’s support in the form of subsidies.

“All I’m suggesting is, with a national approach and the Federal Government providing just part of some of the support that’s provided to other manufacturing industries, if that was provided in the rolling stock area I think we could substantially lift our local content,” he said.

Mr Brumby said he outlined his plan in a letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

It is understood government procurement policies had been put on the table in the lead-up to the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting.

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