High praise for Kenworth's manufacturing prowess

Federal treasurer visits Kenworth’s Victorian manufacturing facility and praises the company for its work

By Ruza Zivkusic | May 18, 2011

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has praised Kenworth for its manufacturing success, describing the trucking giant’s Melbourne facility as "world class".

Inspecting the Bayswater North facility yesterday, Swan says the company has dealt well with the high Australian dollar, which has put pressure on exporters.

"These manufacturing facilities here are world class and what we’ve seen today is what Australians can do when they get their market right, when they get their manufacturing right, when they get their training right and when they apply the sort of innovation we see here," Swan says.

"This is a really important Australian success story for manufacturing. This company manufactures this product here.

"Many of their competitors have a degree of manufacturing but not to the extent we see here and they’re expanding. They’re going from six trucks a day to around nine trucks a day in the next couple of months."

The company, which has 800 workers, is celebrating its 40th birthday next year.

Paccar Australia’s Managing Director Joe Rizzo welcomed the Treasurer’s visit, saying it is important for him to see first hand the company’s commitment to local manufacturing, which has delivered 45,000 locally-made trucks to date.

"Kenworth is part of a global enterprise but our parent company has understood from the beginning that the Australian landscape is unique and it requires a unique range of trucks," Rizzo says.

"Australia has a diverse range of operating environments, unlike anywhere else in the world. Trucks must deal with extreme heat in remote, dusty mines and across deserts. Others must haul loads that are two or three times heavier than overseas and on rough and unmade roads. Often trucks are required to perform an inordinate amount of hours, some as much as 24 hours a day."

Since its inception, Kenworth has designed and built 54 models in Australia, with nine models currently in the newly-released range.

Swan has praised Kenworth’s workforce, saying it is the "key to producing the excellence and the product".

"And really, that’s what the [Federal] Budget is about, making sure we train our workforce for the jobs for the future," Swan says.
The mining boom will not only create jobs in the mining industry but also in industries which service the sector, he adds.

"The transport industry services the mining industry and trucks like those here today are going to be in even bigger demand as we go forward."

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