(L) State Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Maryborough. Photo: Stuart Fast
(L) State Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Maryborough. Photo: Stuart Fast

Train tender truth called out amid Premier's promise

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a $1 billion train building package for Maryborough's Downer EDI facility, but has dodged questions regarding her time as transport Minister under Anna Bligh's government.

During this time, in 2011, Downer pulled out of the New Generation Rolling Stock (NGR) tender citing "onerous terms and conditions."

This meant the trains weren't simply sent to India instead of Maryborough as Labor has repeatedly claimed. The Maryborough company had given up its chance of being chosen before the final decision was made.

When asked about this, the Premier only answered it was the preceding Newman government which commission the trains to be built overseas.

In 2017, a spokesman for Downer confirmed CEO Michael Miller withdrew from the process at a time when the company had also lost $400 million on a NSW public-private partnership.

The Premier did not offer a response when asked why the local manufacturer wasn't accommodated during the 2011 tender process to provide much-needed regional jobs.

"We will be building trains here in Queensland, we'll be making trains in Queensland and we'll creating hundreds of regional jobs for Queensland," she said regarding the Cross River rail trains.

The NGR trains were built in India to the specification they were ordered but were later found to have issues with disability access.

The access issues are currently being rectified in Maryborough at the Downer facility as part of a subcontract from train building company Bombardier.


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