State-owned Tassie rail operator starts Dec 1

Tasmanian Government finally seals $32 million deal to reclaim rail freight network from Pacific National

September 8, 2009

The Tasmanian Government has finally sealed a $32 million deal to reclaim the rail freight network from Pacific National.

In a joint statement released late yesterday, the parties announced a business sale agreement has now been signed.

From December 1 all rail infrastructure and railway operations will return to state hands, with the Government to manage and maintain a new state-owned company.

Current employees will all be offered jobs with the new company on equivalent terms and conditions.

Pacific National acquired the business in 2004 but last year said it would pull out of the State due to the condition of infrastructure and inability to turn a profit.

Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges says the deal ensures rail "continues to be a viable transport option in Tasmania".

Mark Roswthorn, the boss of Pacific National parent Asciano, says the company can now focus on its core businesses.

Both thanked Pacific National employees and customers for sticking with the company during the uncertainty.

"Operating a rail business is never easy at the best of times and our…staff have performed admirably under challenging circumstances," Rowsthorn says.

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