Liberal Party leader opposes local railcar manufacturing

  • Opposition Leader Liza Harvey labels train manufacturing ‘from a bygone era’ that should not happen in Western Australia
  • Liberals claim diversifying the economy should not be a priority, choosing instead to focus just on mining
  • Liza Harvey demonstrates she has no understanding of the modern Western Australian economy 
  • The Leader of the Opposition, Liza Harvey has used a recent keynote speech to insult Western Australian workers and to claim that high-tech manufacturing should not be a focus for Western Australia.

    In a speech to the business community on Wednesday morning, Ms Harvey claimed ‘what we will not do is heavily subsidise industries where the State has no comparative advantage, nor bring back industries from a bygone era’.

    The Opposition Leader went on to say that the McGowan Government’s investment was in an ‘unsustainable, failed manufacturing industry’ and ‘just a waste of your money’, and that the local rail industry was being brought back from ‘a bygone era’.

    Ms Harvey has once again showed her wilful ignorance of the Western Australian economy and key facts.

    Trades involved in building trains include engineering, mechanical and electrical fitting, and welding. The idea that these skills should not be practised in Western Australia displays clear ignorance.

    Ms Harvey also once again demonstrated she will say anything to try to cover up the fact she is not up to the job.

    Claim: The cost has not been released.

    Fact: The cost is $1.25 billion over 10 years and came in $347 million under the original budget. This contract also includes ongoing maintenance, six Australind railcars, and the Bellevue railcar facility.

    Claim: The railcar industry was subsidised.

    Fact: The cost of WA-made railcars is cheaper than the cost of the previous procurement of B-Series from Queensland that was ordered when she was Deputy Premier. The cost per railcar under the last order of B-Series trains was $4.05 million, while the cost under the new C-Series contract is around $2.97 million.

    Claim: WA’s facility was going to ‘fit out trains from Victoria’.

    Fact: Victoria builds its own trains – as do many modern economies around the world. WA will also be building its own trains.

    As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “Ms Harvey has again demonstrated that she is not ready to be Premier and shown her willingness to attack Western Australian workers.

    “Train manufacturing involves modern skills, easily transferrable to other industries.

    “The Opposition Leader’s embarrassing attack on WA workers shows the Liberal Party hasn’t moved on from their fundamental opposition to rail and local jobs.

    “Ms Harvey obviously doesn’t understand that Victoria builds its own trains – as do many modern economies around the world.

    “Our vision for WA is to build a modern train manufacturing and maintenance hub, that not only builds and maintains our public transport trains, but creates further opportunities for the freight, agricultural and mining industries.

    “These industries are major users of rail and rolling stock, and there are huge opportunities to work with them to grow job opportunities in Western Australia.

    “As Training Minister, Liza Harvey increased TAFE fees by 510 per cent. Ms Harvey doesn’t care about future job opportunities or about young people getting well paid, sought after skills in a growing and modern industry.

    “It was the former Court Liberal Government that closed the Midland Railway Workshops in 1994, and it seems that old habits die hard for the Liberals.

    “While the Liberal Party once again shows it doesn’t back WA workers or industry, WA Labor does. 

    “The question for Ms Harvey is: If Western Australia should not build our 246 C-series railcars, and six Australind railcars, then who should?”

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