By CASEY NEILL
GREATER Dandenong jobs are on the line while Bombardier waits for the State Government to order more trams.
The warning came last week ahead of manufacturing showcase Dandenong on Wheels, to be held in Dandenong Civic Square this Friday 17 April and featuring trains and trams from the rail company.
Bombardier is halfway through delivering 50 new E-Class trams for a State Government contract that finishes in December next year.
They were the first trams built in Australia in 12 years and carry ‘Built in Melbourne for Melbourne’ signs.
The contract had the option for a further 100 trams and Bombardier hopes an order for at least some of these will be in next month’s State Budget.
Bombardier told the Journal it needed a work order by November to secure supplier contracts and its existing team, and avoid ramping down its 430-strong workforce.
South Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Nina Springle last week called for an immediate order for 50 trams, in line with Public Transport Victoria advice on tram network needs.
“Dandenong’s Bombardier factory is one of the manufacturing success stories in Melbourne and is vitally important to the people who work there, their families and the local economy,” she said.
“As well, 90 of the 300 businesses that supply parts to Bombardier are also based in Dandenong – and these businesses and workers also face uncertainty until the government commits to a new tram order.”
A spokesman for Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan refused to commit to the order and said a Labor government had ordered the trams currently being built.
“The previous Liberal Government did not order a single tram in the last four years,” he said.
He said the State Government had already announced major investments in new trains for Victoria, including 30 new Xtrapolis carriages from Alstom’s Ballarat workshop and 37 new high-capacity trains.
“These new trains will be built by local workers, with at least 50 per cent of their manufacturing to take place here in Victoria,” he said.
The spokesman said this was part of the government’s Rolling Stock Strategy, which would be released in next month’s State Budget and incorporate regional train rolling stock – and trams.
“The strategy will end ad hoc procurement of trains and trams, give certainty to manufacturers, and ensure the number of trains and trams on the network keeps pace with patronage increases,” he said.
Bombardier has become a key employer in Greater Dandenong, alongside manufacturers producing buses, caravans, trucks, off-road camper trailers, defence vehicles and more.
These vehicles will be on show in Dandenong Civic Square throughout 17 April thanks to a partnership between the City of Greater Dandenong, Committee for Dandenong and the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA).
Mayor Sean O’Reilly said the event would showcase the city’s manufacturing talent.
“We are going to let people know that manufacturing in Dandenong and in south eastern Melbourne is very much alive and well,” he said.
“We want young people to see the extensive future career opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
“It takes a broad spectrum of education and skills to design and build these wonderful transport vehicles, and companies within our region are truly leading the world.”