NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns was a conspicuous part of the opening day of this year’s Australasian Bus Expo in Sydney last week, underlining perhaps the fact that the current State Government is perhaps on the way out according to the polls.
Minns, in a chat with T&B News said that while his party was generally supportive of the Perrotet Government’s plan to switch the state’s entire route bus to zero emission, he feels they’re falling well, short of their projections.
“I mean, we were supportive of the original proposal and the announcement, but you know, the proofs in the pudding, and they’re falling well, short of their, even their, their short term projections,” Minns told T&B News.
“As a result, I think that it rocks, the industry, it rocks supply chains, it means that manufacturers start to ask if these guys are seriously going to deliver it, and many voters start to question the government’s announced policies as a result,” he said.
Minns said that if they win power his party wants to build design and engineer transport infrastructure in New South Wales and not import all of it from offshore manufacturers.
‘The fact is the other states are leading the way, we don’t want to get left behind, we want to make sure young people have got opportunities in this industry, “ Minns said.
Asked about the Australian bus body building industry not having the capacity to build 800 buses a year build rate need to meet the 8000 electric buses needed by the deadline Minns said Labor would look to invest in bigger infrastructure for building electric,
“The way we would deal with it, at least in the initial period in office, would be to put down minimum local content rules to encourage domestic manufacturing in the industry in New South Wales. So we’ve already announced the 50 per cent, minimum local content for rolling stock in New South Wales, as well as a 30 per cent tender weighting for New South Wales businesses,” Minns added.
“We’ve studied closely what’s happened in Queensland and Victoria, and we think that this is a best way of starting an industry that’s desperately needed, and just to give you some way of a data point,” the opposition leader said.
“When I first got elected to Parliament, the government continued to say, look, you just need to build these things offshore, you get more value for taxpayer dollars, we can, we can have a 30 or 40 per cent more if we start procuring it from Korea or Indonesia or something,” he said.
“But we’re 10 years in now and of the six major transport projects, we’ve had budget loads of between 40 and 50 per cent, so we don’t get the goods on time, we don’t get the goods on budget, the savings are completely wiped out, and we don’t get the job,’ he added.
Minns cited problems and failures with transport infrastructure sourced off shore in recent times, including Korean built intercity trains, Chinese built ferries and Spanish built trams all of which have had issues and cost blow outs.
“We need to the electric bus fleet in Australia and we need to look at Australian suppliers like Bustech to make it happen right here, we need to give them the certainty to invest in building locally and having the capacity to meet our requirements, he added.