Feb 9, 2021

ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER

 

ADDRESS TO DOWNER EDI WORKERS

 

MARYBOROUGH
TUESDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2021

 

It’s great to be here to talk about rebuilding a manufacturing sector in this country.

 

We’ve lost too many manufacturing jobs.

 

And one of the things that has shown out during the pandemic is the fact that we’re not self-reliant, we can’t look after ourselves when things go wrong.

 

And we know here, the last time I was here, I was looking at train carriages that were bought, commissioned by the former LNP Government here in Queensland that you are fixing up.

 

It’s really short-sighted to buy something overseas that isn’t fit-for-purpose here in Australia.

 

It ends up costing you more.

 

Costs you more for your economy but, most importantly, it costs you more for jobs as well.

 

And that’s why I’m here today with Jim Chalmers, my Shadow Treasurer, and Senator Anthony Chisholm and the newly elected or re-elected, or relatively new, state MPs as well.

 

Because I’ve got a very clear message for why I’m in Queensland this week up and down the cities and regions of Queensland, which is that I am on your side.

 

I am on your side when it comes to job creation.

 

I’m on your side when it comes to manufacturing things here.

 

I’m on your side when it comes to looking after regional economic development and regional growth.

 

And it’s been fantastic to chat to some of the 42 apprentices that you have here.

 

We need to value those skills.

 

And I know (inaudible) here is part of a generation working here. His great, great grandfather worked here.

 

When I’ve been here, as well, the fact that you have 150 years of history on this site.

 

And I have only had one Budget Reply.

 

And at the centre of it was a Future Made in Australia.

 

And I used rail manufacturing as one of the examples.

 

The 21st century will be a century of an expansion of rail.

 

And building trains here with the Australian products, Australian steel, creating Australian jobs, giving Australians skills, is what we need to do.

 

So I pay tribute to all of you.

 

Because all of you are making a contribution, not just for your family and your community, you’re making a contribution to the nation.

 

And I stand with you.

 

I want to see more of this.

 

If we had a national rail manufacturing plan, what you could do is work with companies like Downer EDI, work with the peak organisations like the Australasian Rail Association, to make sure that you smooth down the cycles of investment, make sure that people could have those secure jobs in regional centres like Maryborough, like Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria, and like Newcastle in New South Wales, regional WA, to create good, well-paid, secure jobs.

 

That’s what I’m about.

 

That’s what I’m determined to deliver for the country.

 

And I thank you for having us here and for the very warm welcome that we’ve got here today. Good on you.

 

ENDS