Locally made emergency vehicles rolled out in Victoria

By July, 2017Fleet, State
Displaced auto manufacturing workers will get a second chance at employment by building some of Victoria's new fleet of emergency vehicles.

Image: Gerard’s World/flickr

Sometimes you can bet on the government swooping in to rescue former workers from a dead local industry if it means it can maintain a valuable asset such as emergency vehicles.

That’s what the Daniel Andrews government has set out to do by hiring former automotive workers manufacture some of the state’s fire and emergency response vehicles.

Under the project, the state government granted $1 million under the Local Industry Fund for Transition (LIFT) to create 51 jobs, including 39 opportunities for ex-auto-workers.

‘Among their latest recruits is Peter Langdon – a former Ford worker with almost 40 years’ experience. He has traded the production line for a job building some of our most recognised emergency vehicles,’ a release from the state government said.

R A Bell & Company currently fits out vehicles for organisations including the Country Fire Authority, State Emergency Service, Victoria Police and Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It’s also constructing a new manufacturing facility and investing in equipment to boost productivity.

The company is a leader in the design and manufacture of large drain cleaning, hydro-excavation vehicles and engineering services used in the water industry.

The government says it is standing by workers and communities affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing.

Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan said from the production line of major car manufacturers to building the next fleet of emergency vehicles – “we’re creating exciting new pathways for auto workers.”

“These grants are helping companies innovate, invest and employ local people in communities hardest hit by the end of local vehicle manufacturing,” Mr Noonan said.

Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman R A Bell & Company is a vital part of the local economy.

“It’s a third generation family business that now employs more than a hundred people, while also providing opportunities for ex-auto workers.”

“It’s great to see the continued success of this proud local company in our community.”

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