AURIZON will sell its Queensland section of its rail and road freight transportation business to Pacific National and Linfox.
State MP Rob Katter said that the company had assured him that the jobs in the sold section would be carried over in the transfer.
“So it is hard to see what the impacts are going to be for the west at this point,” Mr Katter said.
Mount Isa Mines might have been affected by the transfer but Aurizon had lost the contract with the mining company last year. It is understood another North West Qld industry contracts Aurizon in the affected section of the company.
“I have already ensured Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell is across these changes because Cloncurry has traditionally been the bigger hub for Aurizon workers,” Mr Katter said.
“This is an opportunity to turn the spotlight on how the rail line and operators have been managed in 10 to 20 years and if it has delivered, and I do not think it has since it privatised.
“This is the main suppliers exiting the market when one of the main drivers for privatisation was to create competition in the market.
“Isn’t it time the government stopped and considered how they managed their utilities?”
Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell was reached for comment. In July the shire councillors had adjusted its annual operational plan to support its locally based rail workers.
Aurizon also sells its Acacia Ridge terminal to Pacific National. The total value of the sale was worth $220 million. It closes its other freight business based outside of Queensland which affects up to 250 jobs. It is understood the transition will mean that 380 staff will be transferred from Aurizon to these companies.
Aurizon chairman Tim Poole said in the company’s financial report released on Monday that the sale was due to continued losses.
The sale of its Intermodal business would be used for other profitable parts of the company, Mr Poole said.
“The exit will allow Aurizon to focus on creating shareholder value through its core strengths and capabilities of heavy rail haulage operations and rail infrastructure management.”
Queensland Labor Senators Anthony Chisholm and Murray Watt said that Aurizon needed to confirm its long term commitment to Queensland following the company announcement.
The announcement was concerning for workers and the broader freight network.
“The company have also indicated that they intend to hand back the Regional Freight Transport Services contract at the end of the year,” the two Senators said in a joint statement.
“Should another operator not be found, this will potentially add hundreds of trucks to the Bruce Highway and regional roads across the state.”