BRISBANE, AAP – The Queensland government has called for tenders for a $7.1 billion contract to build 65 trains in the formerly thriving regional railway town of Maryborough.
Premier Annastacia Palszczuk unveiled the plan on Wednesday to build the trains in the southeast Queensland town.
She promised during last year’s state election campaign that she would build 20 trains in Maryborough, but the new plan is for more than triple that number.
“I said that we would make, we would restore Maryborough to being able to be the manufacturing hub of train making in Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.
“Not only will it be the hub, this is going to be the largest investment in train manufacturing that Queensland has ever seen.”
The project could create up to 800 local jobs in the Wide Bay-Burnett region with the tenders due by earlier 2022.
The premier said the successful tender would be awarded in the middle of next year.
When asked if Queensland would need that many new trains, Ms Palaszczuk said some would be used on Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project, which is being built, while others would be needed for the 2032 Olympics.
“We are planning for our future and Queensland’s best days are ahead of us,” she said.
“And that’s why the 65 trains is such a significant announcement for this region.”
There are questions about how Maryborough will be able to accommodate up to 800 new workers and their families as it’s already facing a housing shortage.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, the rental vacancy rate in Maryborough was 0.2 per cent in April with the nearby towns of Bundaberg and Hervey Bay at 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.
“Well, that’s up to the council to work through those issues, over to the mayor to look at that, but it’s a great place to live, work and raise a family and to build trains,” Ms Palaszczuk said.