The Alstom Ballarat Rail Workshops has been an integral part of the regional Ballarat community for over 100 years now and employs around 70 local workers at the site.
For those of you that don’t know, the Alstom Ballarat workshops have been building and maintaining trains in Ballarat for over 100 years, having delivered more than 600 X’Trapolis rail cars in recent years. Unfortunately, lack of work and inaction from the Andrews’ Labor Government threatens the closure of the workshops.
The Andrews’ Labor Government has the power to change this by committing that the new order of X’Trapolis trains be built in Ballarat at the Alstom workshops, however the Government has remained cowardly in this indecision.
Part of Labor’s platform prior to the 2014 election was around job security, not just ad-hock work and it is disappointing that 5 years later, under a Labor Government, Alstom are close to shutting the gates.
The X’Trapolis 2.0 project will guarantee that Alstom Ballarat manufactures up to 40 new X’Trapolis trains with passenger capacity of 1200 passengers. This would see the future of the Alstom Ballarat workshop secured until at least 2023, giving the workers better job security and assurance.
Not only will X’Trapolis 2.0 give certainty to Alstom Ballarat, but it will also secure jobs at the Metro Trains Craigieburn maintenance facility beyond 2020. This is a huge investment in Rail in Victoria, and we need to ensure that these jobs are retained.
On Wednesday 28 August, a rally was held at the Ballarat workshops in support of the workers, and to put pressure on the Victorian Government to commit to these trains being built in Victoria at Ballarat workshops.
While the weather in Ballarat certainly didn’t show up for us that day, the local community did, and you could see just how important this is to the community in Ballarat.
At that meeting, workers, Delegates, Members, Union Officials and supporters, passed the below motion unanimously:
“That Premier Daniel Andrews seek an immediate meeting with the Combined Union Shop Committee at ALSTOM (AMWU, ETU and RTBU) Delegates to discuss the future of the North Workshop ALSTOM past May 2020.
That the Premier deliver on his promise made on several visits to the ALSTOM site in 2014 and 2018 – that the ALSTOM workshops would never close under his government.”
The motion has since been communicated with Premier Andrews and no response has been received. I have also written to the Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Public Transport twice, urging them to take action and protect these regional rail jobs.
We are yet to receive a response to either letter.
Keeping jobs in Victoria and retaining a skilled workforce must be a priority for the State Government. Trains built by Victorians, for Victorians, is the way that it should be.