Australia

New South Wales senior bureaucratic flight visit to currently blacklisted Chinese company

Senior civil servants have already visited Chinese railway manufacturers three times, and visited CRRC in June 2017, October-November 2017, and February 2018.

Apart from flight visits by senior bureaucrats, government documents indicate that the New South Wales Department of Transportation has a China-based guarantee team.

NSW Waratah Series 2 Train.credit: James Alcock.

CRRC, which has assembled Waratah suburban trains in New South Wales since 2006, has also contracted to deliver a new high-capacity metro train in Victoria.

Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews defended the government’s procurement of trains through the CRRC, noting that New South Wales had been using the company for years.

Andrews does not “agree on everything that is happening in every country,” but the government accepts a guarantee from China that the CRRC is not exploiting Uighur minority workers in the country. Said that.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon flagged the CRRC as a potential cybersecurity threat through its involvement in critical infrastructure.

In addition, a March report from the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy lists it as one of 82 companies that directly or indirectly benefit from the use of Uighur workers through potentially abused labor programs. It has been.

According to the report, CRRC supplier KTK Group began using the Uighur workforce at one of its factories in China in 2019.

In response to the exposure, New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance instructed New South Wales Secretary Rod Staples to ensure proper procedures on Tuesday.

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A consortium of CRRC and ASX-listed Downer has signed multi-billion dollar government contracts to build and maintain double-deck waratah trains in New South Wales, some of which arrived in Sydney this year.

A spokeswoman for the New South Wales Department of Transportation said that warranty advisors have been based in China since 2017, and the issues raised by them or senior project managers were limited to new train manufacturing, testing and quality assurance. Said.

“”[The assurance advisers] She is responsible for monitoring the production of Waratah Series 2 trains, including quality inspections, project milestone verification, and test witnessing. “

Since 2018, NSW staff’s senior transportation has not traveled to China.

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A Downer spokesman said the company investigated “serious allegations” earlier this year, and the CRRC strongly denied the use of Uighur workers. “Downer doesn’t know the evidence to substantiate the claim,” said a spokesman.

“Downer will continue to work with the CRRC to ensure that appropriate measures have been taken and continued to ensure the integrity of the CRRC’s supply chain.”

The purpose of the trip in late 2018 is to have two senior transports for New South Wales executives in China just before the final batch of 24 waratah trains rolling off the assembly line is shipped to Newcastle. It was to be in the “field”.

The two executives also added to CRRC, Downer EDI’s rail division, NSW’s China-based assurance team Transport’s “Meet with key leadership and managers” and “Workshop lessons”. Discussed arrangements for purchasing a train in.

In the “advantages” of travel, this document “further develops the relationship with the CRRC, demonstrates its importance as a potential future supplier to NSW, and enables stronger competition in future fleet procurement. It was an opportunity to “do”.

“With a face-to-face meeting between Downer and the CRRC, this trip will succeed in further developing the important relationships formed in the last three trips,” he says.

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Matt O’Sullivan is the City Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tom Rabe is a transport reporter for Sydney Morning Herald.

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