Weld Australia fully supports the award of a $70 million New South Wales Government contract for electric buses to a western Sydney manufacturer. Weld Australia is the peak body representing the local welding industry.
On Tuesday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that another 79 electric buses would be ordered from Custom Denning, as part of its commitment for the state’s fleet of more than 8,000 buses to go green by 2030. This takes the Government’s total order to 100 vehicles.
Weld Australia has long urged all state governments to support local manufacturers, welders and fabricators in their procurement processes. Local procurement has the power to create thousands of jobs, a solid local supply chain, and an industry equipped to export world-class vehicles all over the world.
According to Weld Australia CEO Geoff Crittenden, “There is a real opportunity for the state governments to invest in creating a robust, resilient manufacturing industry that can compete on the world stage. State government procurement practices that support local welders and fabricators will create thousands of jobs, supporting local economies in a post COVID-19 world. This contract with Custom Denning is expected to result in the employment of 40 new apprentices, plus many more skilled tradesmen.”
“With a long-term procurement commitment from the state governments, Australian manufacturers will have the confidence to reinvest in their own capabilities, strengthening the industry from within. This type of business innovation strengthens businesses and creates new and better jobs, which together support a move to higher living standards. Innovation investment by business is crucial to our ongoing prosperity.”
According to Crittenden, in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, this type of economic expansion is essential; both the Federal Government and the Reserve Bank of Australia have emphasised how important it is for state governments to spend money.
“And yet,” he said, “Our state governments consistently spend our money overseas.”
“For example, all of New South Wales’ trains are manufactured overseas; the $900 million Waratah 2 trains are being fabricated in China, the $2.3 billion Intercity fleet of trains is being fabricated and built in South Korea, and the inner west light rail trains were built in Spain. Incredibly, services on the inner west light rail only just resumed over the weekend after they were suspended in November, because sizeable cracks were discovered in the fleet. Worth well over $4 billion, had these three projects been awarded to local fabricators, they would have created thousands of jobs in New South Wales alone, and seen the development of cutting-edge new technology.”
“Offshoring manufacturing, welding and fabrication work to China, South Korea and Spain weakens Australia’s economy.
“If all our state governments adopted a nationally consistent procurement process that considered whole of life costs and prioritised local content, not only would it create thousands of jobs, it would deliver better quality public transport. Locally fabricated trains would adhere to all relevant Australian and international Standards, reducing expensive rework and repair. Cheap imports from overseas often cost more in the long run,” Crittenden added.