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The Mayor says he’s been assured that politics did not play a part in the decision to select Dubbo for a rail maintenance centre ahead of Goulburn.
Cr Bob Kirk and council general manager Warwick Bennett met with the Department of Premier and Cabinet representatives in Sydney on Thursday.
He was responding to Goulburn Post letters to the editor and Facebook comments that politics played a hand in Dubbo’s selection. Rail author Leon Oberg claimed Dubbo was chosen to pacify The Nationals, whose member Troy Grant held the seat of Dubbo. He suggested with Mr Grant’s retirement, Goulburn now had a prime opportunity to argue its case before a tender was let.
But MP Pru Goward said there was no turning back, with Dubbo preferred for its location, supporting workforce and infrastructure.
Cr Kirk said he understood Ms Goward lobbied strongly in 2017 for Goulburn to be the centre.
“The Department of Premier and Cabinet...confirmed that the railway maintenance centre is relocating to Dubbo and that this arrangement is complete – there is no opportunity for reconsideration,” he said.
“The Department also strongly confirmed that this decision was based on the business case and politics played no role.”
The Mayor said he raised the matter because he’d prefer Goulburn to be in the running.
But the pair was told the tender would be let for the facility to be located at Dubbo.
“I appreciate the strong voice of the community and I will continue to ensure the views and needs of Goulburn Mulwaree are represented clearly to all levels of government,” Cr Kirk said.
Transport for NSW called a requests for proposal on December 15, 2017.
The Department confirmed the consortia members were Bombardier Transportation Australia Pty Ltd, Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty Ltd and John Laing Investments Limited.
One of the applicants, the Bombardier Consortium, withdrew from the process in May. The other two applicants, Momentum Trains led by CAF and Regional Futures led by Downer, remain in the competitive procurement process.
“Transport for NSW is evaluating tenders for the maintenance facility to service the regional rail fleet, with the aim to award a contract by early 2019,” a spokeswoman said.
“Dubbo was identified by Transport for NSW as the preferred site for the regional rail fleet maintenance facility based on an analysis of operational, environmental, social, economic and construction considerations.”
The explanation doesn’t wash with Mr Oberg.
“It’s clear the decision (about Dubbo) was made long ago and the people haven’t been told. It smacks of secrecy,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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