QR should aim for value for money in train purchases and ignore pro-Maryborough lobbying

Train manufacturer Bombardier Transportation is a major contributor to Maryborough’s economy, employing around 300 people or 3% of Maryborough’s workforce. Hence there is a lot of interest in the outcome of a recent request for tenders to build 200 trains for Queensland Rail (QR), which is now being called on to consider the regional economic implications of its upcoming decision (WA contract should show Qld the way):

THE newly announced $160 million contract between Downer-Bombardier and the West Australian government should set an example for the State Government, Fraser Coast MPs say.

Queensland Rail is still deciding who will be awarded a $3.2 billion, 200-train contract, with two overseas consortiums pitted against Bombardier’s Australian operation.

“I’m calling on the State Government to act logically when it comes to awarding that tender,” Member for Maryborough Chris Foley said.

“Why, in this economy, would the State Government choose to send money overseas?” Mr Foley said.

Bombardier indicated it would proceed alone in the tender after Downer EDi pulled out of the running in March.

While it is not known when the tenders will be announced, Mr Foley said it was only logical for it to go to Bombardier, so Maryborough could benefit from the flow-on effects.

“Economically, logically and morally, it must go to Bombardier,” he said.

If Bombardier is competitive and offers value for money – which its recent success in WA suggests it is – then it has a good chance of wining the QR contract and may survive regardless. But, if it’s uncompetitive, and if it were awarded the QR contract partly because of the flow on effects to Maryborough, it will cost taxpayers signficantly, and the decision would send the wrong signal to Bombardier employees, who otherwise might re-train or investigate employment options in other areas.

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