Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Maryborough member Bruce Saunders talk with Downer EDI workers and executives at the lower Kent St shop.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Maryborough member Bruce Saunders talk with Downer EDI workers and executives at the lower Kent St shop.

Saunders slams 'champagne sipping’ MP over train claim

MEMBER for Maryborough Bruce Saunders has accused the LNP of trying to derail the city's train manufacturing heritage.

The incumbent Labor MP called on Federal MP Llew O'Brien and the LNP's candidate for Maryborough, Denis Chapman, to "pull into line their out-of-touch Sydney colleague, Dave Sharma immediately".

Mr Saunders said he was disgusted by Federal LNP MP Dave Sharma's claim that Australia shouldn't be building trains.

"Once again the LNP has delivered a kick in the guts to every single rail manufacturing worker in Maryborough," Mr Saunders said.

"Maryborough has a proud heritage of rail manufacturing that continues to provide good, honest local jobs because we're the best at what we do.

"Yet, here we have a champagne-sipping Federal MP from Sydney's well-to-do eastern suburbs tweeting that he doesn't see a need for Australia to build trains because they're a 200-year-old technology."

Mr Saunders said LNP Federal MP Llew O'Brien and the LNP's candidate for Maryborough needed to get on the phone quickly and tell Mr Sharma he's an embarrassment.

"We all know the LNP's disgraceful record on trains," Mr Saunders said.

"The LNP's Campbell Newman and his assistant Deb Frecklington ordered 75 NGR trains from overseas because they were half price, instead of building them here in Maryborough.

"Deb Frecklington didn't care about local manufacturing jobs in Maryborough or the 14,000 frontline workers they sacked.

"But you only get what you pay for; Deb Frecklington's half-price, overseas-built trains failed Australian disability standards and are now being rebuilt in Maryborough at Downer EDI.

"Queensland Rail's NGRs should have been built in Maryborough in the first place.

"The Palaszczuk Government is rebuilding the LNP's non-compliant trains at Downer EDI because we believe in Maryborough's local manufacturing expertise and local jobs."

Mr Saunders said the Palaszczuk Government had invested $335 million to fix 75 half-price NGR trains at Downer EDI and delivered more than 100 local jobs.

"These 100 local Maryborough rail jobs are so important to Queensland's COVID-19 economic recovery," Mr Saunders said.

It comes after Federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese pledged to

return Maryborough to its status as the train-building powerhouse of Australia.

The promise was made in this week's Federal Budget Reply where he told parliament his party would create a National Rail Manufacturing Plan.

But Mr Chapman accused Mr Saunders of "lying" about Mr Sharma's position.

"As usual, the Labor Member for Maryborough makes a lot of noise but he never talks about the economic crisis facing his electorate.

"Wide Bay is suffering the highest unemployment rate in Queensland under Labor's watch.

"It's a disgrace that almost 14,000 local workers are out of a job and all the Labor Member can do is lie about a Twitter feed," he said.

"Downer pulled out of making the NGR trains when his boss, Annastacia Palaszczuk, was Minister of Transport.

"The LNP will back Maryborough's train industry, but unlike Labor we will also back other industries like agriculture and forestry.

"The LNP will cut electricity costs for companies like Downer by almost 20 per cent and we won't smash them with nine new taxes like Labor.

"We'll boost construction jobs by building a four-lane Bruce Highway too."

Mr Sharma, the member for Wentworth, also hit back on Friday.

"I support modern and advanced manufacturing in Australia," he said.

"What I don't support are ill-conceived thought bubbles.

"There's a reason why Queensland Labor is on the nose, and it's because their candidates are more focused on what's going on in Sydney than in their own local communities."