The Victoria State Government’s Metro Tunnel project, aimed at improving travel times for train commuters, has proved a boon for manufacturing jobs.
The $18 million purpose-built factory, located in Deer Park, 17km west of the Melbourne CBD, will manufacture concrete segments to line the walls of the Metro Tunnel.
The plant employs 70 people, with up to 50 of them former automotive manufacturing workers.
The segment manufacturing plant can produce approximately 150 curved segments a day – a rate of one segment every seven minutes. The plant produced 3,500 4.5 tonne segments ahead of the commencement of the North Melbourne Station tunnel in late August.
The plant is tipped to have constructed more than 56,000 segments for 9,300 rings which form the walls of the Metro Tunnel. The Metro Tunnel is the largest public transport project in Victorian history.
“This huge factory is building the future of our train network and creating Victorian jobs,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement. “I thank these workers for their hard work on this vital project, which will create space for more trains, more often, right across Melbourne.”
As a flow on effect, the Metro Tunnel will create over 7,000 jobs for Victorians in manufacturing, including 800 positions for apprentices, trainees, and engineering cadets.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan said, “We’re building the Metro Tunnel to run more trains in the suburbs and create thousands of jobs across Victoria.
“We’re ensuring our record pipeline of major transport projects delivers skills and opportunities to Victorians.”
According to a statement, the recently hired automotive workers will be “getting new skills and experience in concrete manufacturing that will set them up for long careers building the infrastructure Victoria needs as it grows.”
Minister Allan also added that the government is delivering the tunnel “on time and on budget,” according to The Star Weekly.
The first tunnel boring machine is named Joan, after Victoria’s first female premier Joan Kirner. The first of four TBMs are used to dig the tunnel, which will take two of Melbourne’s busiest lines out of the city loop, easing peak hour congestion and allowing for more trains to service the network.
“This state-of-the-art facility is a jobs-boon for our community – giving local workers a chance to gain invaluable skills and experience and boosting local businesses in Deer Park and across Melbourne’s west,” said member for Koroit, Marlene Kairouz.
The Metro Tunnel is slated for completion in 2025.