Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula announced recently that 50 new low floor trams will be designed, constructed and maintained by Dandenong based company Bombardier.

While rail manufacturing might not normally be your thing, this is good news for the development of clean green jobs in Victoria, and another win for Environment Victoria’s campaign work.

Last year Environment Victoria released a report investigating five key opportunities for green job growth in Victoria, with the rail manufacturing sector being key among them. With a commitment to manufacture just 50 percent of rolling stock (the trains and trams) in Victoria, we found that the government would have the potential to create 2250 new direct manufacturing jobs and up to 6300 jobs in the supply chain.

In today’s announcement the new trams will have 50.3 percent local manufacturing content, creating 500 new jobs for Victorians when production is at its peak. That’s before additional indirect jobs along the supply chain are included.

It’s a good announcement, and we’re hoping it’s a sign that the government has started to see the huge potential to clean up Victoria’s economy and keep the wheels turning, so to speak.

But there could be catch. The government’s local manufacturing strategy measures the amount of local content based on a whole-of-life assessment, meaning for tram and train manufacturing the government could meet its own targets (of 40 percent local content for all major projects significant to the state economy) by making sure ongoing maintenance is carried out in Victoria but allowing most of the actual manufacturing to happen overseas.

We’ll be waiting to see the detail of the announcement to ensure that the policy really does deliver on the local manufacturing content rather than just maintenance work. However today’s announcement is certainly better than what we’ve had, and can be seen as a small but important step towards a clean economy and a truly sustainable transport policy in Victoria.

Source: Environment Victoria.

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