The City of Ballarat and the rail industry have enjoyed a mutually beneficial and long standing relationship.
The economic benefit afforded to the region from the ongoing connection with the rail industry and Alstom cannot be underestimated.
To date, Alstom has delivered 101 six-car trains, on budget and consistently ahead of schedule. The X’Trapolis trains manufactured in Ballarat have proven to be the most reliable trains on the Melbourne rail network.
Alstom has just commenced manufacture of five extra trains ordered in 2018 (XT18) which will take the total to 106 six-car trains.
The workshops have been a significant Ballarat employer over the years, often employing generations of families that have resulted in parents and their children working side by side.
The site has also seen the development of many apprentices into trade professionals while also supporting a significant local supplier base.
In downtime between contracts, Alstom employees have undertaken regular community engagement programs, assisting local charities and not-for-profit organisations with labour, technical and trade support.
Production of the current batch of five trains began this month and will be fully completed by mid-2020. However, Alstom has no visibility of any workload beyond early 2020.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh says the Council has, over the years, supported Alstom where it can.
“For example, this has included advocacy to other levels of government for continued support for Alstom or direct discussions with Alstom about emerging innovation and the opportunities these present for the transport industry and Ballarat,” Cr McIntosh said.
“In response to the recent concerns about the ongoing contracts pipeline for Ballarat, we have recently met with Alstom to discuss how we may be of assistance.
“Ballarat’s manufacturing industry has been the pillar of the local economy for more than a century.
“Manufacturing is also a large contributor to local expenditure in Ballarat – with flow-on effects for suppliers in the value chain, as well as other Ballarat businesses where Alstom employees spend their money.
“We estimate that a loss of 70 jobs in the local transport manufacturing industry would result in a loss of approximately $98.5 million overall to the economy, a large proportion of which would impact locally – including further local job losses.
“For this reason we will do what we can to support Alstom during this uncertain period.”