Transport Minister Andrew Constance says he is horrified by reports linking the Chinese state-owned corporation manufacturing Sydney trains to Uighur labour and has tasked his government department to urgently investigate the matter.
The government investigation comes after the Herald and The Age revealed the company contracted to build new trains for Sydney and Melbourne had also been identified as a beneficiary of Uighur labour and was recently blacklisted by the United States.
China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is manufacturing Sydney’s new Waratah trains, 17 of which arrived this year, and Melbourne’s high-capacity metro trains.
Mr Constance said a challenge of procuring assets from overseas was ensuring the transparency of supply chain practices.
“First of all, I was horrified to see reports on this. At the moment the community needs thorough assurance from me that we are taking this very seriously and we are going to do as thorough an investigation as we can,” Mr Constance said on Thursday.
“I’ve asked the agency to work around the clock to try and ascertain exactly what the circumstances are and we’ll go from there.”
Mr Constance refused to speculate on what actions would be taken with the contract if the government investigation found CRRC was benefiting from the labour of exploited minority workers in China.