Llew O'Brien in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Llew O'Brien in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith Kym Smith

Train history back on line as MPs war over party failings

WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has welcomed the news 20 trains will be built in Maryborough as part of the Cross River Rail project.

But he criticised the timing of the announcement, just weeks out from the State Election.

It comes as a portion of the $1 billion dollar train building pipeline package announced in Maryborough was also earmarked for rail manufacturing in Rockhampton.

"I welcome the announcement that train manufacturing will return to Maryborough, but given this Labor Government's track record on being able to deliver anything on time we need to see the detail," Mr O'Brien said.

"Trains for Queensland and trains for Australia and the world should be made in Queensland and made in Maryborough.

"This Labor Government has had six years to make this commitment it made this week - and here we are on the eve of on an election with this announcement made by the very same person who originally sent the train manufacturing contract overseas.

Mr O'Brien said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Transport Minister Mark Bailey and member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders needed to be called out for their omission of key facts about the awarding of Queensland Rail's Next Generation Rollingstock contract.

"In 2010 Annastacia Palaszczuk was Queensland's Transport Minister and had direct control of the NGR tendering process.

"Ms Palaszczuk made the terms of the tendering process so difficult that it cut off any possibility of Maryborough manufacture and forced Downer EDI to withdraw from the bid.

"After doing nothing for six years, if Labor seriously cared about local jobs it could have made this announcement long before today, just days and hours and minutes before we go to vote."

But on Thursday Mr Bailey hit back, saying the $1 billion dollar project was not guaranteed under an LNP government.

"Llew O'Brien can try to prop up the divided state LNP all he likes but workers in Maryborough should be more worried about the silence coming from Deb Frecklington about train manufacturing in Queensland," Mr Bailey said.

"After two days, Deb Frecklington and the LNP hasn't ruled out scrapping Labor's $1 billion rail plan to hold trains with Queensland workers and create almost 700 new jobs in Maryborough.

"I can guarantee Labor will back doubling Maryborough Rail jobs under Premier Palaszczuk and Labor if we're elected.

"Will the LNP?"

Mr Bailey said the LNP still hadn't revealed how it would find its $25 billion in election promises.

"Would the LNP cut this contract and send it overseas again, like they did with the NGR trains under Campbell Newman that the Palaszczuk Labor Government is fixing with Queensland workers?" Mr Bailey said.

"The LNP talk up the importance of local manufacturing but have proven time and again they'll always take the cut price overseas option first.

"Downer have said publicly that they withdrew from the NGR contract process in 2011 because of a corporate decision related to Waratah contracts in NSW, not any decision of a former Queensland Government.

"In 2013, after initially withdrawing from the NGR tender process, Downer sought to re-enter with a new bid, but Campbell Newman's LNP government, of which Deb Frecklington was an Assistant Minister, shamefully knocked back their request.

"The Commission of Inquiry into the NGR contract process handed down in 2018 identified that Downer sought to re-engage in the process.

"That giant blunder is a $335 million mistake that Labor has stepped in to fix."