The Labor Party have criticised coal rail operator Aurizon Holdings after it announced Monday it had decided to quit its loss-making freight business, selling two units for $220 million and closing a third arm, allowing it to focus on coal haulage.
Aurizon said it would sell its Queensland rail and road freight business to a consortium of Linfox and Pacific National and its Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal separately to Pacific National, as it has been unable to build a customer base for the business that competes with trucking.
The remainder of its intermodal business outside of the state of Queensland would be closed at the end of December, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs.
ALP senators for Queensland Anthony Chisholm and Murray Watt said the announcement by Aurizon were concerning for workers and the broader freight network.
“These sales will result in the transfer of approximately 380 staff from Aurizon to Pacific National and Linfox, as well as the loss of up to 250 jobs due to the closure of Aurizon's interstate business,” they said in a joint statement.
“These decisions come on top of Aurizon cutting hundreds of jobs in Central and North Queensland this year through closing workshops and getting rid of permanent train crew.”
The senators said Aurizon needed to state whether they are committed to Queensland for the long term to provide certainty to regional communities across the state.
“The company have also indicated that they intend to hand back the Regional Freight Transport Services contract at the end of the year,” they said.
“Should another operator not be found, this will potentially add hundreds of trucks to the Bruce Highway and regional roads across the state
“We call on Aurizon to honour its commitment to Queensland workers and the communities which rely on the rail operator.”
The Senators said the Turnbull Government members continued to be silent around job losses in their electorates.