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MSM FACT CHECK: Is Constance rewriting history

Of concern for Gilmore voters is the article published today in the Daily Telegraph, researched and written by JAMES O’DOHERTY, STATE POLITICAL EDITOR

The Daily Telegraph article April 18th 2022 opens with: "ANDREW Constance has been accused of rewriting history over claims no Australian companies bid for a multi-billion dollar train fleet contract with the NSW government. "Mr Constance has repeatedly said no Australian companies bid to build the $2.8bn New Intercity Fleet, for which contracts were awarded when he was minister. Last week he told Shoalhaven radio that the government “went to the Australian market seeking someone to build a train (but) no-one put their hand up”. Yet in March 2016 The Illawarra Mercury ran an article "Council aboard Wollongong train build push" saying "The Mercury can reveal Wollongong City Council has been approached by Stadler Australia about setting up a facility to commission, produce and maintain the new trains in the Illawarra". "Stadler – a division of Switzerland-based Stadler Rail – is one of four consortia shortlisted to tender for the supply and maintenance of the next-generation fleet." According to the Daily Telegraph Fact Check article of April 18th, 2022, Andrew Constance is reported to be repeatedly saying no Australian companies bid to build the $2.8bn New Intercity Fleet, for which contracts were awarded when he was minister.

James O'Doherty writes "The company, the local arm of Switzerland-based Stadler Rail, was ultimately unsuccessful. The winning bid – which included Mitsubishi Electric Australia – involved up to 300 local jobs at a maintenance facility in Kangy Angy.

"The tender process for the new trains, announced by then-Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, also favoured offshore manufacturers because the government wanted an “off-the-shelf” solution.

"Last Thursday, former Transport Minister and Liberal candidate for Gilmore Andrew Constance told local Shoalhaven radio that when the NSW Government went to the Australian market in to find a firm to build trains, ‘no one put their hand up.’

However, it is known that Stadler Australia had approached the Wollongong City Council (Illawarra Mercury - March 2016) about setting up a facility to commission, produce and maintain the new Intercity Fleet in the Illawarra.

Ultimately (Illawarra Mercury August 18th, 2016), the winning consortium from Korea was awarded the contract. NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said at the time “The Baird government is completely disinterested in supporting local manufacturing and local jobs. Here in the Illawarra we had a tenderer, Stadler, prepared to deliver 600 jobs here at Unanderra. We could have had 600 people working here assembling new train carriages and maintaining them, with hundreds of apprenticeships for local kids.


“On this very big $2.3 billion contract to build rolling stock, we should have Australian steel, Illawarra steel, in those trains. We won’t,” he told the Illawarra Mercury. The a question now for Gilmore voters is around the reported radio comment that when the contract “went to the Australian market seeking someone to build a train (but) no-one put their hand up”. Questions around this Daily Telegraph article, and its concerns around a candidate possibly "rewriting history" will be asked of the Liberal candidate at the upcoming Meet The Candidates forum at Tuross Head on May 2nd.


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