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Queensland announces zero-emissions bus buying spree

The new competitive procurement process is set to see more than 400 new zero-emissions buses be purchased for Translink’s south-east Queensland fleet

Queensland government has launched a new plan to deliver hundreds of zero-emissions buses to the state’s fleet through direct government procurement.

Queensland premier Steven Miles yesterday announced that the government would order more than 400 zero-emissions buses that will be locally built to spark a clean energy transition while boosting bus manufacturing and creating new jobs, with new zero-emissions depots to also be built and existing depots to be transitioned.

The new zero-emissions buses are expected to cut emissions on Translink’s south-east Queensland urban network by 80 per cent after they replace aging diesel buses.

While the final number will be decided through a competitive procurement process, Miles says it’s expected that more than 400 buses will be locally manufactured.

“My government is steadfast in its commitment to invest in Queensland’s industries and create more jobs while also reaching our emissions reductions targets currently before the parliament,” Miles says.

“With this plan, it is expected that more than 400 new buses will be delivered, good jobs in local bus manufacturing will be supported and Queensland streets will be cleaner and quieter.

“It’s my expectation that this project will deliver best value for money for Queenslanders now, and in the lead up to 2032.”

The commitment builds on the Queensland government’s recent call to support the construction of 200 new Euro 6 diesel buses in Queensland.

Through this new zero-emissions bus program investment, the state government is delivering on its commitment to ensure all new buses procured from 2025 to run on Translink’s south-east Queensland urban network will be zero-emissions.

Translink has already ran 75 zero-emissions buses across eight Queensland depots to help inform the design of the buses and depots from 2025.

The state government says local bus manufacturing will be boosted through local content requirements, which will see the creation of direct and indirect jobs, as well as local opportunities for small and medium businesses to be part of the broader supply chain.

“We needed a model for the transition to zero-emission buses that supports the current bus manufacturing workforce, and its transition to zero-emissions technologies,” Queensland transport minister Bart Mellish says.

“The cost to deliver the buses will be announced following a procurement process, to ensure offers are truly competitive.

“Since becoming Minister I have heard first-hand from industry, unions and drivers that they need better protections on the road. That’s why these new buses will have increased safety measures, like protection barriers.

“It is yet another example of how the Queensland government is delivering the services that Queenslanders want and need, while transitioning to a clean energy economy.”

Bus depots will also go clean, with new zero-emissions depots to be built and existing depots to be transitioned.

Transport and Main Roads (TMR) will also work with the Queensland government-owned investment corporation QIC to secure and manage further benefits from this project through a potential public private partnership, such as has occurred with Cross River Rail.

The plan will boost Queensland’s public transport capability prior to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will also lock in greater provisions for operational flexibility.

The new buses will also prioritise driver safety, with appropriate safety barriers to be installed prior to operation and in consultation with drivers.

All new buses will also be fully accessible for people who require mobility assistance and those who are travelling with luggage or prams.

“The decarbonisation of sectors like transport gives us the opportunity to bring more manufacturing back to Queensland, and that is good for jobs and our sovereign capability,” Queensland energy minister Mick de Brenni says.

“The transport sector accounts for 15.6 per cent of Queensland’s emissions and is the third largest contributor, so enabling the shift to electric buses will help fast track reducing that contribution, importantly without costing commuters.”

Queensland manufacturing minister Glenn Butcher says this latest announcement further supports manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the transition to a net-zero economy.

“This is a big boost for Queensland’s bus manufacturing sector but there will also be benefits for local businesses in the downstream supply chain such as battery and systems manufacturing,” Butcher says.

“We know Queensland has the capacity to manufacture world-leading products and we’re supporting that today.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Queensland and Northern Territory state secretary Rohan Webb says this move secures good local jobs while also establishing a pipeline of work for local communities for years to come.

“This announcement signals confidence in Queensland’s vehicle manufacturing industry and the Queensland government’s dedication to Queensland workers,” Webb says.

“These buses will be made in Queensland, by Queenslanders, for Queenslanders and demonstrate the community-wide benefits of building things here in Queensland.”

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