Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Public Transport, the Honourable Martin Pakula. Can the minister update the house on the recently awarded contract to maintain Victoria’s V/Line train fleet?
Hon. M. P. PAKULA (Minister for Public Transport) — I thank Ms Tierney for the question. The Premier and I were pleased recently to announce that the transport company Bombardier is now responsible for the maintenance, repairs and management of the V/Line classic fleet, which includes Sprinters, locomotives and the locomotive haul carriages. Bombardier was awarded that maintenance contract after a tender process carried out by V/Line. The contract will run till the end of 2012. Bombardier will also continue to construct and maintain the V/Locity fleet, which it has done since the first carriage rolled off the production line in 2005.
This is an important decision by V/Line because the appointment of Bombardier to maintain these V/Line trains means that the maintenance of all of the V/Line fleet is under the one banner for the first time. Bombardier employs more than 500 people across Australia. It has something like 350 employees in Victoria. Its major maintenance base is at the West Melbourne depot, but importantly — and I know Ms Tierney is also very excited by the prospect — Bombardier also has a maintenance facility in Geelong. This will mean more jobs in Geelong as well.
The main maintenance facility operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is an excellent example of both the successful manufacturing and the rail maintenance facilities we have in the state. As members would know, Bombardier is currently in the process of rolling out another 32 new V/Locity carriages to meet the unprecedented growth in patronage we have seen across country Victoria. We have ordered 134 V/Locity carriages for the regional rail network, and 110 of them are in service. We are expecting all the rest to be rolled out by October next year. Once that rollout is complete we will have added just under 10 000 extra seats and almost doubled the total number of seats on the network since 1999.
These investments are part of our commitment to investing in regional public transport projects — projects that improve services, accessibility and connectivity for families who live and work in regional Victoria. This announcement also provides Bombardier employees with job security and delivers security for all those people in Bombardier’s local supply chain, which includes something like 90 Victorian businesses.