ell, it would not be a Wednesday, would it, unless we had a couple of document production motions from Mr Davis. I note from memory that he has had a couple of cracks at this type of motion, but nonetheless what we are seeing is yet again the scaremongering tactics of the Leader of the Opposition, where he just goes fishing all the time. He just throws the hook out, suggests that there is something improper that is going on, something illegal, something corrupt or just anything, and he just throws it out there and he brings it into this chamber. And of course everything is manufactured to ensure that he can get his next socials done according to his own political agenda.
Now, as we have said time and time again, there is no-one in this chamber who objects to transparency and all of those things, but that is not what this is about, and it never is about that with this member for Southern Metropolitan. Instead Wednesday after Wednesday in this place we put up with false accusations, unfounded accusations and fishing expeditions that are simply designed to fuel his own political objectives—whatever they might be. I would not even try to understand what motivates Mr Davis. Heaven forbid, I have not met anybody in this place that could adequately explain it, and I am certainly not going to have a crack at it.
But we stated more than a year ago, when a published report in the New Daily first cited an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report, that the Victorian government is extremely concerned by any allegations of forced labour associated with companies linked to Victoria’s rolling stock supply chain or indeed for any Victorian government contract, because the mere thought of such an abomination is complete and utter anathema to our DNA. Our trains are being manufactured here in Victoria, and we have received repeated assurances from the manufacturers that there is no evidence of forced labour in the supply chains. That is a very important point to be made in this debate—that the unfounded allegation or accusation was just tossed out there, and when the manufacturers concerned were approached and asked to provide the necessary assurances they did so and they confirmed that there is no evidence. We expect every company, every organisation that is dealing with the Victorian government, to uphold the highest of human rights standards.
I am the chair of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee, and every Monday before a sitting week my colleagues and I on that committee—one of whom is in the chamber with me now, a member for Northern Metropolitan, Ms Watt—apply the human rights charter to every bill that goes through this place because we understand how important it is that there are standards that we uphold in everything that we do. We have asked our manufacturers, as I said, to take additional steps to ensure the integrity of our supply chains, because we know on this side of the house that it takes vigilance when it comes to supply chains and that the further you get removed from the centre the more that integrity can become perilous. So it is very important to us, very important to this government, that the supply chains relating to all of the contracts that we have on foot and all of the relationships that we have on foot are of the highest standard, and we will continue to monitor that situation very closely, as we do as a matter of course. We do that as a matter of course. It is not just when Mr Davis goes fishing with unfounded accusations that suddenly we turn our attention to these matters—on the contrary.
Of course this is not an issue, as I said, unique to the Victorian rolling stock industry. The 2020 report that I referred to earlier alleges that there is use of forced labour in the supply chains of many rolling stock manufacturers and some of the world’s most well known brands, and it is therefore important that that vigilance be applied to these circumstances. Following that report the government took immediate action to ensure that those supply chains for Victorian rolling stock were not affected by this unacceptable practice, this abomination, where the human rights of people are greatly diminished as they get further and further away from the core project and through the supply chain.
The Evolution Rail consortium is of course contracted by the government as part of the public-private partnership to deliver the high-capacity metro trains project, and the rail consortium includes Downer, CRRC and Plenary. As one of the world’s largest train-building companies CRRC has successfully delivered trains to over 100 countries, including Sydney’s Waratah fleets. All Victorian rolling stock contracts require at least 50 per cent local content, meaning more train parts are made locally here in Victoria than in any other state in Australia.
Now, where was the opposition? Where were those opposite when they were in government and had the capacity to put in place some of these important public policy levers? They went missing of course. They did not deliver, but they want to come in here and fling accusations, go fishing and manufacture circumstances and suggest that there is something horribly going wrong.
Let us have a quick look at our record when it comes to local content. We are investing $2.3 billion in 65 new high-capacity metro trains and associated infrastructure. I have not heard what the opposition’s response to that is, but let us hope that Mr Davis in his summing up will actually address that and tell us whether or not the opposition is supportive of that investment. These trains are going to enter service on the network and will be used on the new Metro Tunnel and airport rail. Our trains are being manufactured right here in Victoria, employing over 1100 Victorians, including apprentices, trainees and ex-auto workers. The trains are being built with 60 per cent local content for the fleet and 87 per cent for the depot. But what do we hear from those opposite on those things? What do we hear? Of course, crickets.
They do not want to address those very important progressive things. Instead they just want to throw out their unfounded accusations that something terribly wrong is going on here. But in fact for five footy seasons now in this place all I have heard on a Wednesday from this bloke is that if there is a bit of progress in this state that is creating jobs, that is creating local content, that is powering this economy, then he opposes it. I reject this proposition from Mr Davis. It is unfounded and it is unnecessary.