Australia to make our own trains, trams and ferries again

It looks like governments all across Australia are beginning to understand the folly of importing critical transport infrastructure from overseas…and it’s been a bloody long time coming.

Just as the struggling taxpayers of New South Wales who’ve paid BILLIONS upon BILLIONS for:

  • Indonesian-made ferries that don’t fit under bridges and arrived on our shores with more than 40 defects.
  • Spanish trams that cracked on the inner west line.
  • A CBD light rail that blew out from $1.5 billion to $3 billion, courtesy of a Spanish company.
  • Chinese trains made by a company linked to slave labour.
  • And Korean trains that were delayed by 18 months and don’t fit under bridges in the Blue Mountains.

Thankfully however, it looks like the waste is set to end.

In Victoria 50 per cent of all new trains and trams have to be locally made. Last year, the Queensland government spent $7 billion to ensure 65 trains were built in our backyard. Now it looks like New South Wales Transport Minister David Elliot is following their lead.

Last month Elliot gave the Western Sydney company Custom Denning the contract for 79 new electric buses. In November, the police were given 11 new tactical boats made by a Sydney firm Zodiac Mil-pro. And this week we learnt that trams on the second stage of the Parramatta Light Rail will be locally made.

Keep up the great work Minister, because there’s a lot more to do when it comes to local manufacturing in this country!

For instance, Australia is now totally reliant on foreign imports for cars after the Holden factory in South Australia shut in 2015.

Despite Australia investing solar technology, nearly every single panel this country uses is imported from China. The same goes for the wind turbines and batteries many of our politicians call “the energy source of the future”.

Australia imports 86 per cent of its semiconductors, 75 per cent of its lighting, 72 per cent of its generators and 69 per cent of its computers from China.

Although we’re the world’s largest island nation, we’re now a net importer of processed seafood, fruits and vegetables.

This country has become 100 percent dependent on China for supplies of manganese, crucial for stainless steel and other alloys.

Our farmers are 90 percent dependent on China for fertilisers.

We import 90 per cent of our fuels from nations like Korea which refine the crude oil we send them.

It gets even worse when you compare Australia to other nations.

According to a recent study by the Henry Jackson Society that examined the dependency of the Five Eyes countries - the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – on China, Australia was by far the most exposed.

Of the 5,914 categories of goods imported by the five nations, Australia is strategically dependent on China for 595, which is more than any other country. Even worse, Australia is dependent on China for more than half the supplies to three industries, 37 sectors and 167 categories - by far the greatest level of dependency among the five nations.

Although it’s good to see the state government beginning to back domestic manufacturing when it comes to the procurement of transport infrastructure, it’s just not enough.

Australia needs a COMPLETE revitalisation of our manufacturing capabilities, and the first step is the construction of a new fleet of HELE coal-fired power plants and the legalisation of nuclear energy…