Half a century of Australian commercial vehicle manufacturing was celebrated last week at PACCAR Australia.
A delegation of heavy hitters from Canberra were in attendance to mark the occasion in which the first Australian Kenworth truck rolled off the production line at Bayswater, Victoria.
The date was 2 March 1971. More than 70,000 trucks have been built ever since.
As part of the celebrations, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz, and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan toured the facility before celebrating with staff the role PACCAR has played in both the trucking and manufacturing industries during the last 50 years.
Dealer principals, industry partners, and suppliers were also present to reflect on a defining moment for the Australian road transport industry.
PACCAR Australia Managing Director, Andrew Hadjikakou, paid tribute to the foresight of those that first brought Kenworth to this country, and those responsible for establishing the Bayswater plant.
“We are extremely proud of this achievement and honoured that the Treasurer and his colleagues have joined us to show their support for our industry and for PACCAR,” said Hadjikakou.
“Today, the workforce behind each truck is measured in the thousands. An extended family of exceptional employees, dealers and suppliers that span the nation,” he said.
“Not everything has changed though. Each Kenworth is still specifically application engineered for its intended task and the desire to build the world’s best trucks still inspires and unites us.”
By fostering a culture of innovation and investing heavily in next generation technologies, Kenworth has risen to every challenge over the 50-year journey.
From the removal of import tariffs, soaring fuel costs, economic downturns, global recessions, dimensional changes, emission reductions, and most recently, a pandemic demanding changes to the production line to protect the workforce and maintain supply of trucks to the essential transport industry.
“2020 showed how important Australian manufacturing is to this country,” said Hadjikakou.