Building Tasmanian bridges and jobs Fri 5 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Sid Sidebottom Federal Labor Member for Braddon David O'Byrne Minister for Infrastructure Download hi-res version Tasmanian company, VEC Civil Engineering Pty Ltd (VEC) has been congratulated on winning successive contracts to build four north-west rail bridges. Federal Member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom joined Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings today at the site of the Blythe River Bridge to announce the contract for the Forth River Bridge. The North-West Bridges project is funded by the Australian Government under the Nation Building Program, as part of the $400-million upgrade of Tasmania's freight rail network over seven years (2009-2016). Ms Giddings said VEC had now won four contracts with a combined value of $20-million, which has allowed the company to secure 35 direct jobs and employment for 20 sub-contractors. "This project is an example of the both levels of government working together with a state owned company to build jobs and opportunities for the future," Ms Giddings said. "We understand the importance of giving Tasmanian businesses a reliable and efficient rail network. That's why we've invested significantly to buy the network back and restore it to good condition after years of neglect by the private operators. "Today's announcement is also good news for local jobs and I want to congratulate VEC Civil Engineering for this strong achievement," she said. The Federal Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, said the Forth and Don Bridges were first installed in the 1880s, the Leven in the 1930s, and the Blythe in the 1960s. "As a result of age and exposure to Tasmania's harsh and wildly variable conditions, these bridges are in need of replacement so we're moving in to fix them before they can have any negative impact on Tasmanian rail services between Hobart and Port of Burnie," Mr Sidebottom said. "By investing in these works, the Federal Labor Government is ensuring that rail in Tasmania will continue to play its key role in the transport of mineral ore, coal and cement from industrial regions to the ports, as well as paper products and general retail containerised goods from around Tasmania to Port of Burnie." The Minister for Infrastructure, David O'Byrne, said the Tasmanian Government is providing $139 million over seven years for TasRail's crucial capital expenditure - including $90 million for a new locomotive and wagon fleet. "Modern and efficient infrastructure inspires confidence, supports business and industry and attracts investment," Mr O'Byrne said. "The investment by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments is already showing results - with growing customer confidence and new business, and derailments reducing "TasRail is in the process of buying 17 state-of-the-art new locomotives, worth more than $60-million. Tasmania will then have a modern and reliable rollingstock fleet hauling its freight, for the first time in many decades. "These new north-west bridges are crucial network infrastructure and a part of that ambitious revitalisation, and it's fantastic to see skilled and innovative local hands doing the work," he said. Since TasRail was established in December, 2009, it's spent almost $98 million buying goods and services from more than 900 Tasmanian companies. VEC Civil Engineering was founded in Ulverstone in 1994, by Kees and Pam van Ek. It's since grown to be recognised as Tasmania's premier bridge contractor, and now has offices all around Tasmania, as well as Victoria and Queensland.The four bridges to be worked on by VEC are: • The Blythe River Bridge (Burnie) - being replaced on new alignment. • The Leven River Bridge (Ulverstone) - being rebuilt on new alignment. • The Forth River Bridge (Forth) - being replaced. • The Don River Bridge (Devonport) - being rehabilitated.