Volgren has announced plans to invest in its Eagle Farm workforce and continue building bus bodies in Queensland, including its first locally manufactured electric bus, which is due early next year, with the company also playing a key role in the Brisbane Metro project.
The decision to continue building a wide range of buses at Eagle Farm follows a period of uncertainty after Volgren delivered its final bus to Brisbane City Council in June this year, concluding an agreement that had lasted 12 years and incorporated almost 900 vehicles.
The company is Australia’s largest bus body builder and the loss of the Brisbane City Council contract had brought a period of uncertainty around its Queensland assembly plant and the announcement means its Queensland staff can now breathe a little easier about their future.
CEO of Volgren, Thiago Deiro said the company’s investment in its Queensland operation would secure the future of 45 valued staff members and a local supply chain involving 20 local businesses.
“Volgren has spent more than a decade developing a skilled workforce and a world-class manufacturing centre at Eagle Farm. It’s not something we ever wanted to walk away from. Our plans are to invest in our people and our production facilities to meet new levels of demand and ensure the next generation of zero emission buses can be built locally.
“We have a proud record of supplying high-quality buses to Brisbane and today’s announcement is a statement that we intend to extend that record. We are not just here to stay; we are continuing to invest in jobs and to promote local content.”
“Our plans are to double labour capacity in 2022 at our Eagle Farm facility and deliver higher volumes than ever before, including large numbers of electric buses.”
Volgren’s Queensland operations manager, Clayton Nel, said he was excited about beginning a new chapter in the story of Queensland bus manufacture.
“The decision to retain all staff and continue what we love doing has been met with an enormous feeling of relief and appreciation from our staff and local supply chain. Many of our employees have dedicated a large part of their lives to this company and to building excellent buses. They deserve this good news and the assurance that comes from our investment and our expansion.
“What we have planned will give us greater flexibility and the ability to continue delivering for our customers. These customers have high expectations and ever-changing requirements – and our goal has always been to meet and exceed them,” Clayton said.
Deiro said the decision to maintain staff and invest in the Eagle Farm facility also provides continuity for the Brisbane Metro project.
“The Brisbane Metro pilot vehicle arrives in Australia early next year. Volgren will play a key role in the acceptance, testing and delivery of the metro vehicle to Brisbane City Council.
“Working in close collaboration with our long-term partner HESS, our team in Brisbane will acquire the technical knowledge and operational planning needed to assemble and manufacture future vehicles for Brisbane Metro.”
Deiro said that the transition to zero-emission technology was gathering momentum in Australia and that Volgren was well-placed to take advantage of the shift. The company has already delivered e-buses to New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Its Brisbane bus is operated by Transdev and powered by solar energy sourced at the company’s Capalaba Depot.
“We know that Brisbane City Council is leading the way on Australia’s move to zero-emission public transport. With Eagle Farm secured, and a focus on building world class zero emission buses, we can confidently respond to tenders in this state and across the country.”