Queensland’s ‘Made in India’ trains have become a contentious election issue in the upcoming state polls.
Labor and Liberals are sparring over the rail contract awarded to Bombardier which was assembled in India.
Numerous design faults were discovered during the testing of Queensland Rail's new trains which arrived from India, prompting the state government to stop more deliveries till the issues were rectified..
On-track testing in Queensland uncovered problems with braking, air-conditioning, ventilation, sightlines for train drivers, and disability access.
Now this rail mess has become a point of election debate between the two major political parties of the state.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday pledged to fix issues with dozens of new-generation made-in-India trains in Maryborough, Queensland if re-elected to Government.
"We will continue to deliver to you. We will fix the trains here in Maryborough, and we will ensure that any future trains built in Queensland are built here at Downer in Maryborough," she said.
Ms Palasaczuk told workers, "Tim Nicholls wanted trains built in Mumbai, I'll build them in Maryborough".
Maryborough is an important seat as Labor's Bruce Saunders holds just a 1.1% margin.
The rail contract was assigned by previous the Newman government when the current Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls was the Treasurer.
Advertisements across Brisbane have questioned and highlighted this issue with the tagline ‘Tim Nicholls stopped QLD trains being built in QLD, sending those JOBS TO INDIA’.
Mr Nicholls has shot back and questioned why the Labor ads were focusing on the trains being partly built in India.
"It's the Labor Party who are identifying that these trains are being built by Bombardier in part in India and seem to be identifying them being built in India as the problem," Mr Nicholls told ABC.
"Parts of the trains are being built in Canada and Germany and other places but it certainly seems to be the case that the Labor Party seems to be suggesting that there's something wrong with the manufacturing taking place in India."
INDIAN COMMUNITY CALLS LABOR ADVERTISEMENT CAMPAIGN XENOPHOBIC
The Indian community in Australia is upset over these ‘anti-India’ advertisements and statements by the Labor party in Queensland.
India Australia Exchange Forum (IAEF), an Indian business group have called out Labor’s anti-India campaign and accused the Palaszczuk government of xenophobia.
The India Australia Exchange Forum said that ‘a disturbing trend of xenophobia’ had hit the Queensland Labor Party after “anti-Indian” and “racist” advertisements were sent widely across electorates.
They said this ‘had left the local community “shocked and saddened”.’
"We condemn this advertising made by the Queensland Labor Party and call on them to retract it," India Australia Exchange Forum spokesman Ben Apsey told SBS Hindi.
"When the advertising is shamefully targeting just one country, it's a racist ad, when the decisions are targeting just one country and when that country is a major trading partner with shared values it's an utter disgrace."
“This advertising specifically targets India, decision after decision is attacking India and today we see again that India is being used as the political scapegoat because the government is in a train-wreck of their own making,” he continued.
“The Premier should be ashamed these were issued in her name and the Queensland Labor Party should be ashamed these were issued in their name, they will wear that for a long time," he said.