Downer Group has officially signed a $4.6 billion contract to design and manufacture trains for the State Government’s $7.1 billion Queensland Train Manufacturing Program.
This investment is set to support 800 construction and manufacturing jobs.
Downer is now tasked with the manufacture of 65 passenger trains at a state-owned purpose-built facility at Torbanlea. The first train is set to be delivered in 2026, with all 65 on track for 2032.
Negotiations have been underway since Downer was announced as the preferred supplier for the program in early 2023.
The new trains will be more accessible for people with a disability, with the addition of Train Boarding Bridges and Electronic Levelling Controls to address the gaps between platforms and trains, as well as phone charging capabilities.
Construction is expected to start by the end of the year on both the manufacturing facility in Torbanlea and a new rail stabling and maintenance facility at Ormeau on the Gold Coast.
Train Manufacturing is key to Queensland’s Big Build, a record $89 billion dollar investment into infrastructure by the State Government over the next four years.
Queensland Big Build will support 58,000 jobs over the next 24 months as part of the state’s biggest infrastructure spend on record.
Ms Palaszczuk said the government made a promise to bring train building back to Maryborough, and it is set to deliver.
“I saw how much this contract means to the men and women of Maryborough when I visited Downer earlier this year – now we can get on with the job of building,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Not only does this $7.1 billion program secure generations of job security, skills and training in Maryborough, but it sets our state up for a strong transport future.
“Because Queensland trains should be made in Queensland.”
Queensland Minister for Transport & Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said, “This isn’t just about delivering 65 new trains, this is creating opportunities for Torbanlea, Maryborough, and the wider region.
“With the contract signed and sealed, Downer Group will begin recruiting for the construction and manufacturing jobs that this project will bring.
“Downer Group has committed to making jobs and training for Queenslanders its priority”.
Assistant Minister for Regional Roads and Train Manufacturing and Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, said, “I fought hard for the people of Maryborough to see this commitment delivered on.
“This isn’t just about building trains – it’s an investment in the decades of skill we have here in Maryborough and in the generations of train builders to come.
“Early works are already underway in Torbanlea and in coming weeks they’ll start setting up site compounds, which will get the ball rolling for major construction to begin later this year.
“The first trains will complete manufacturing and commence testing in late 2026, with all 65 trains expected to be in service by 2032.
“These 65 new trains will support South East Queensland’s population boom, as well as Cross River Rail and the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Glenn Butcher, said Queensland manufacturers are some of the best in the world.
“It’s fantastic to be part of the Queensland Government that’s bringing train manufacturing back to local workshops.
“The State Government backs manufacturing because making things here means more local jobs.”
Member for Hervey Bay, Adrian Tantari, said this is a great moment for the entire Fraser Coast community.
“This is going to bring jobs, it is going to bring skills and it is going to bring career long opportunities for young people who want to stay in the region.”
State Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), Rohan Webb, said, “Campbell Newman sent rail manufacturing overseas. For years, the AMWU has proudly campaigned alongside our Downer EDI members and the Maryborough community to bring rail manufacturing back home. Today, our dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Mr Webb said the billions of dollars in investment from the State Government will bring rail manufacturing back to Queensland, securing the future of hundreds of workers in Maryborough.
“AMWU members at Downer EDI in Maryborough are skilled, respected, and acknowledged as some of the best train manufacturers in Australia. And now they’re set to lead the way as we rebuild manufacturing capacity in Australia.”
Featured image: The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Cabinet Ministers with Downer Group workers. Image credit: Queensland Government.