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Hunter Valley manufacturing jobs have been threatened by rail freight operator Pacific National, who has moved to source flat top wagons from China despite previous safety problems with imported rolling stock.
Ninety flat top wagons arrived in the port of Newcastle on the Cape Dorrington and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) believes another shipment is due to arrive in mid-October.
The move comes despite three Hunter Valley engineering firms - Goninans, Varley Engineering and EDI Rail - possessing the competence and expertise to manufacture quality rolling stock locally.
Varley Engineering has already been bringing up to scratch wheat wagons that arrived from China with numerous problems including critical braking and suspension faults.
"This is another blow for apprentices," says Melissa Kennedy from the AMWU.
"How can Australian companies make a commitment to training apprentices when companies like Pacific National show no commitment to Australian produced goods."
"This is a practical demonstration of what is in store for Australia under the Free Trade Agreement, when procurement policy goes out the window."
The three rolling stock manufacturers employ over 600 workers in the Hunter and the AMWU is concerned that bypassing Australian manufacturers will threaten these jobs.
Kennedy likened Pacific National’s move to buying from a cheap discount store rather than a reputable manufacturer.
Contact Person: Melissa Kennedy
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