Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei gets 4G Perth rail network contract
CHINESE telecommunications giant Huawei has been awarded a $136 million contract to build and maintain a 4G communications system for Perth’s rail network.
The McGowan Government awarded the contract after first checking with the Federal Government there were no security concerns, given sensitivities around Huawei’s involvement with other projects.
The Shenzhen-based company was banned by the former Federal Labor government in 2012 from participating in the National Broadband Network.
Last month Australia convinced the Solomon Islands to torpedo a deal that would have seen Huawei construct a fibre-optic cable to Australia in a bid to boost the Pacific nation’s internet and phone services.
Instead, Australia agreed to help fund and build the undersea communications link. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop declined to elaborate on the Federal Government’s concerns with Huawei.
To allay fears, the company has previously offered to provide Australian intelligence agencies oversight of its operations.
Last month Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Public Transport Authority had checked several times with the Federal Government to ensure were no security concerns. Announcing the WA deal on Friday, Huawei said it would deliver the project as part of a joint venture with UGL.
Work gets under way later this month and is due for completion in 2021.
“The Radio Systems Replacement project will deliver a total end-to-end digital radio solution across the PTA’s 180km electrified rail network and the new Forrestfield Airport Link twin tunnels,” it said.
Huawei Australia chairman John Lord said the PTA contract reinforced Huawei’s strong long-term investment focus in the Australian market and was “a validation of the company’s status and reputation as the global cellular wireless leader”.
“We are modernising the Australian transportation sector,” he said.
As part of the contract, WA steel and labour will be used for fabricating, assembling and testing outdoor cabinets and towers.
More than 50 WA-based staff, including subcontractors, will be employed during the 40-month design and build period.