"On behalf of The Greens I support the rail rolling stock petition. It highlights in a clear, sensible and straightforward way the importance of maintaining a manufacturing skills base in this State. It also ensures that public money raised from the taxpayers of New South Wales is used to support the manufacturing industry in this State.
"I acknowledge all the members and delegates of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union [AMWU]. My father worked as a fitter and was a member of the AMWU for all of his working life, so I have a soft spot for it. It is a credit to the union and all those involved to have attained so many signatures on this petition.
"Our manufacturing industry nationwide has been crippled by Federal Government policies, particularly under the Howard Government. We are now hearing about free trade agreements, which often means undermining the skills base of this country, exporting jobs and not supporting the growing and vibrant economy of this State. Whether it is ship building, rolling stock or componentry, this country needs a national plan. In fact, we need a State plan that prioritises apprenticeships with local training content and that focuses on regional areas. Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt and Lilyfield were traditionally areas of manufacturing and production, but those industries have moved to the regions of New South Wales. It is important that manufacturing is supported in my electorate of Balmain and elsewhere.
"The light rail extension traverses my area and we have called not only for the public transport system to remain in public hands but also for the rolling stock to be manufactured locally. We are disappointed that, although the original rolling stock was built in Dandenong, Victoria, the new stock tender has been allocated to Spain. That goes to the heart of this issue. Without supporting and maintaining our manufacturing base, we will lose the workers with the relevant skills and expertise. This State has world-class, skilled workers who can produce high-quality train rolling stock here."
ACTING-SPEAKER (Ms Noreen Hay): Order! I call the member for Kiama to order for the first time.
Mr JAMIE PARKER: "It is in the national interest that we maintain our manufacturing base. As a Greens representative, I believe it is important that investment in public transport and clean energy continues in this State. We have extremely competitive local workers who produce high-quality, world-class, safe products. It is critical that the Government invests in our manufacturing future and that it supports the workers at UGL and Downer EDI to ensure that this country does not become nothing more than a quarry of deskilled workers that sends its products overseas."
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