none

PROCUREMENT OFF THE RAILS

14-11-2017
by 
in 

Perhaps it’s just a sign of the times. But in 1962 in the UK when my Father bought me my first model railway he went to a local shop and bought a British-made Tri-ang train set.

Were that to have happened today, perhaps he would have gone online, found the best price and ordered me a train set from whichever country could supply one the cheapest.

Whether the import would be as well made and reliable as the local product would have to be a matter of guesswork. And you almost certainly wouldn’t be able to take it back to the shop for a repair or replacement. But it would probably save some money.

So why should we be surprised that state governments in Australia adopt the same policy when buying real trains? Sadly, it’s not surprising, but it is certainly annoying.

Let’s ignore, for the moment, the mistakes that have been made, such as the former Queensland Government ordering trains that are currently being assembled by Bombadier in India.

These units are already 18 months behind schedule, and will require extensive modifications to be performed once they do arrive in Australia to sort out a long list of faults that ranges from the air-conditioning and ventilation to the braking and disability access.

In this case, what really mattered was that when these trains were ordered in January 2014, they were heralded as costing only half the price the previous government had paid for rolling stock.

Elsewhere, the NSW Government has certainly been “shopping around”, with suburban trains currently under construction in China, a $3.2 billion fleet of inter-city trains being assembled in South Korea, and trams for Sydney’s new light rail being built in France and Spain.

Fortunately, though, the attitude is not universal. Visitors to Melbourne are regularly reminded that the locals take a rather more enlightened view of procurement, with trams and trains bearing the “Made in Victoria for Victoria” slogan. And the Victorian Government has recently awarded another order for high capacity metro trains – also to be built in Victoria.

It is all too easy to see this argument as falling along political lines. And that is unfortunate, because it’s more important than that.

A recent report from the Senate Economics References Committee has called for the Government to develop a national rail manufacturing industry plan and to encourage all the states to buy in to it. Whether it will be heeded is another matter.

 

Related news & editorials

  1. Photo of editor
    27.04.2021
    27.04.2021
    by      In
    Thank you for reading Industry Update, which is now in its 26th year of publication. Our print edition has 76,968 readers who page through it to stay on top of what’s happening in both manufacturing and in industry in general. You can read the online edition of our April/May magazine here.
    Industry... Read More
  2. Editor Barry O’Hagan
    04.03.2021
    04.03.2021
    by      In , In
    Industry Update would like to give a warm welcome to our new editor, Barry O’Hagan.
    Barry brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked as a media professional for more than 25 years.
    A former newspaper and magazine journalist, he has a passion for telling the stories of businesses and... Read More
  3. Annamarie Reyes
    01.03.2021
    01.03.2021
    by      In
    As if we are not being tested enough already, our Covid normal now asks us to get used to intermittent lockdowns on our state borders.
    Early this year we witnessed in WA how mid-flight passengers were made aware of a snap lockdown after a single case of Covid-19 was sourced to a quarantine worker... Read More
  4. If you were unlucky enough to be on a plane mid-flight when the lockdown was imposed, you have to go into lockdown as well.
    02.02.2021
    02.02.2021
    by      In , In
    One case. Just one case of Covid-19 from a hotel quarantine security guard in Perth has caused Premier Mark McGowan to announce a snap lockdown of the city and two regions in Western Australia.
    But what about people on their way to Perth on business? Those in the manufacturing industry need to... Read More
Products
Suppliers