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A rail manufacturing hub located in Bunbury would create “hundreds” of jobs and have an economic flow-on effect into the future, according to Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State secretary Steve McCartney.
Mr McCartney this week wrote an open letter to Premier Mark McGowan saying Bunbury was the “ideal location” to build the trains needed for the State Government’s Metronet public transport plan.
In his letter, Mr McCartney said Bunbury could become the centre for rail manufacturing and the Government should release unused land near the port to the private sector for development.
Speaking to the South Western Times, Mr McCartney said Bunbury was identified as an appropriate and sustainable transition for coal jobs in Collie and was a solution for replacing industry with industry.
“We work with members a lot in the South West and we’ve seen the opportunity here,” Mr McCartney said.
“There are a lot of skilled people in the region already, a lot of young people who need employment and training opportunities and families who want to stay close to their homes and keep their communities strong.”
He said while initially business would focus on passenger trains for Metronet, a new industry could be developed in the city and the flow-on effects would be huge.
“Rather than just make trains for one major project, this could make an industry,” he said.
“Once you have a facility set up, you can start going for the iron ore carriages for mining up north, for the agricultural freight rail, even for light rail.
“Companies doing major projects here, should invest in jobs here – it’s hundreds of jobs.”
“Every time a new industry creates a bunch of new jobs, all those people need somewhere to live, they need shops, they need to buy their coffee somewhere and have their cars serviced and their hair cut.
“The flow on effect will affect the whole economy positively.”
Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance chief executive officer Matt Granger welcomed the idea.
“We’ve got all the elements to support manufacturing in the Bunbury Wellington area,” Mr Granger said.
“We have a business base which has grown up around servicing major resource processing and energy industries, there’s industrial land, port facilities, a skilled workforce, excellent education and training facilities and ready access to the metropolitan area.”
Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the WA Jobs Legislation would promote local content and local jobs and there would be a focus on creating jobs out of Metronet.
“We do need manufacturing jobs in the Bunbury area and I will do everything I can to present the capability of Bunbury fabricators and suppliers regardless of whether it is Metronet rolling stock, private sector freight rolling stock or other manufacturing opportunities,” Mr Punch said.
“I have written to all Ministers to raise awareness of Bunbury capability through the South West Procure Exhibition that will be held in Bunbury in November.”
This article first appeared on thewest.com.au
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