By Casey Neill
A little patience will pay off for Bombardier in the May State Budget, Premier Daniel Andrews has hinted.
He visited the Dandenong manufacturer on Tuesday 21 March to inspect the 51st E-Class tram to roll off the production line.
It has new features, including a driver cabin designed with input from drivers and more handles and rails for passengers to hold.
The tram was the first of a $295 million State Government order for 20 trams, made in 2015 and following its previous order for 50 trams.
“This project is 500 jobs. That’s the best way to look at this,” Mr Andrews said.
“Five hundred livelihoods depend on these orders.”
He said the final 20 would be finished by the end of June next year.
“There’s a State Budget in just a few weeks’ time, and if everyone is just patient, I know a really strong future for this business, a strong future for these workers and the outstanding quality product that they have been turning out and will continue to for many, many years to come,” he said.
“Bombardier are actually exceeding the local content requirements that we wrote into the contract, creating jobs and skills and opportunities along the way and creating a much better experience for the travelling public.
“You can’t get a better outcome than that.”
Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams said she’d been working very closely with Bombardier over the past two years.
She’s also worked closely with the Premier, Mr Noonan and Transport Minister Jacinta Allan “to make the case for more work going to Bombardier”.
“The work continues, and hopefully we’ll get some good news in the budget,” she said.
Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan said Bombardier was supporting displaced automotive industry workers, as well as supporting supply chain businesses across the South-East.
He said the trams contained about 60 per cent local content.
“We’re talking about the glass, the seats, the flooring, obviously the shell are all built here in Victoria by Victorians for Victorians,” he said.
Mr Noonan said Bombardier was a great demonstration of Victoria’s “manufacturing capacity that has been growing in real terms over the past two years”.
Bombardier Transportation Australia managing director Andrew Dudgeon said the next-generation E-Class trams were about delivering for purpose.
“These trams are made in Melbourne, for Melbourne – so we work hard to understand the requirements of our customer and passengers,” he said.
“We’ve worked closely with our customer, special user groups and the public to collect important feedback which informed the design and functional enhancements of the trams.”
Mr Dudgeon said Bombardier tapped into a partnership with Swinburne University and used a virtual reality mock-up.
“The enhancements on Tram 51 will cascade not only to Tram 70 and beyond, but the initial fleet will be retrofitted with the various changes and benefits,” he said.
“From design all the way through to the build, our team in Dandenong manages the entire process and could not be more proud of these vehicles.”