STANDING UP: Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders addresses Downer workers.
STANDING UP: Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders addresses Downer workers. Alistair Brightman

TRAIN DILEMMA: 'They should've been made in Maryborough'

UPDATE: QTECTIC Consortium has stated they are working closely with the government over the design faults in Queensland trains, following a fiery debate in parliamentary chambers over the issue.

It comes after Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders questioned why the trains weren't constructed in Maryborough earlier this week.

Qtectic Consortium spokesperson Andrew Dudgeon said they were continuing to work with the State Government and relevant departments on the issue.

"Testing is ongoing as part of commissioning these trains. Queensland Rail is fully involved in this testing and we are continuing to work with the Government and Queensland Rail as part of this process," he said.

"During any testing process it is normal for issues to arise, when that happens all parties work together to come to a successful solution.

"These are state of the art trains which we want to see in service as soon as possible.

"The trains are designed in Queensland by a very dedicated team of industry professionals...(and) built especially for Queensland commuters."

EARLIER: THE blame game has begun between the State Government and the Opposition after trains manufactured in India arrived in Brisbane with a plethora of design faults.

But Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders believes the answers to the State Government's train dilemma lies in Heritage City, where he believes the trains should have been built in the first place.

The problems with the new trains include issues with braking, air-conditioning, ventilation, sightlines for drivers and disability access.

The Chronicle contacted Qtectic, a Bombardier-led consortium from which the Newman Government ordered the trains in January 2014, for a response in regards to the alleged issues regarding the trains, but had not received a reply at the time of going to print.

Mr Saunders believes the trains should be brought to Maryborough to be fixed at the city's Downer factory.

The trains were ordered at a cost of $4.4 billion, with the Newman Government at the time saying that was half the price the previous government paid for rollingstock.

Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad said the problems were in the designs initially submitted by Bombardier.

But the Opposition said that the current government had made changes to the initial design of the trains.

Thirteen of the 75 ordered have been delivered over the past year, but the State Government has halted the arrival of anymore until the issues have been rectified.

Mr Saunders made an impassioned speech in parliament this week, questioning why the trains that were built in India weren't made to world-class standards in the Heritage City.

But the Opposition hit back, saying that Downer, which operates a factory in Maryborough, did not apply for the contract that was eventually awarded to a manufacturer in India, despite making an expression of interest at the time.

Michael Sharp, the group head of corporate affairs and relations for Downer Group, said it was correct that Downer had decided not to tender for the Queensland Rail New Generation contract.

"As we said at the time, this decision was not taken lightly, particularly as Downer had been a supplier to, and a partner with, QR for over three decades," he said.

"However, in Downer's view the terms and conditions of the probity deed relating to the bid and the terms and conditions of the contract itself were too onerous, and the risks borne by the contractor were too great, to proceed with the bid and incur tender costs in excess of $10 million."

In response to whether the trains should be brought to Maryborough to be fixed, Mr Sharp simply said: "Downer offers a complete range of rail solutions for its customers, including the ability to build trains at Maryborough should an appropriate opportunity emerge in the future."

Mr Saunders said the trains were not up to scratch.

"It's very clear you get what you pay for," Mr Saunders said in his speech to parliament.

"You can't run a reliable train timetable without reliable trains."

Mr Saunders told the parliament about the high quality of trains produced in Maryborough.

"The tilt trains did five million kilometres," he said.

"We're still using suburban trains in Brisbane that were built in Maryborough 25 years ago. That's the quality of work, that's why the system has been great."

Mr Saunders said the promise of "new trains for half price" sounded like a "Silly Solly's ad".

"You only get what you pay for, exactly what the Deputy Premier said today," Mr Saunders said.

Mr Saunders said the LNP should have to call Downer and explain why these trains were built in India.

"Building these trains in India hurt people in the community and it certainly hurt the people in Maryborough."

Interjections rang out from the Opposition at Mr Saunders spoke.

A response from Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell said there had been no opportunity to award Downer the contract because Downer did not apply for it, which left the LNP Government with only overseas options.

"Labor and union hypocrisy knows no bounds - despite being encouraged to enter a tender, no local manufacturer completed the process," he said.

"Furthermore, the AMWU didn't raise a whimper when Annastacia Palaszczuk ordered the Gold Coast trams from the same company in 2011 and allowed them to be manufactured in Germany.

"Labor and their union buddies never let the facts stand in the way of a good yarn.

"Let's face it - the only reason the AMWU is piping up now and jumping on the rail bandwagon is because their membership is declining and they are trying to stay relevant.

"There is no better interest than self-interest and the Labor Party and their union hacks wrote the playbook on that."

The Chronicle contacted Translink, which is overseeing the arrival of the trains, but had not received a response at the time of going to print.

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