Aurizon reveals significant cost-cutting program

Some 800 jobs to go as rail operator exercises its newfound flexibility in a tough environment

Aurizon reveals significant cost-cutting program
Aurizon has spelled out plans for a significant rationalisation of its operations


Rail operator Aurizon has announced a raft of new investments and operational changes that it hopes will improve long term performance.

The next three-year phase of its ‘operations transformation’ program includes investment in new facility, an ongoing rationalisation of surplus capacity and maintenance infrastructure, and the rollout of new technology to deliver more efficient work practices.

Specifically, the company has proposed to close its locomotive and wagon maintenance depots in Rockhampton.

The work will be consolidated with the existing heavy maintenance facility in the same city, but 40 jobs will be lost across the facilities.

Aurizon’s wheel shop in Townsville will also close.

This had been slated for a June closure next year, but the new strategy brings that end date forward to December this year.

The company has commenced the early work for a new $50 million, highly-automated wheel machining shop in central Queensland.

It hopes this will eventually replace three separate wheel shops at Redbank, Rockhampton, and Townsville.

Aurizon is also planning a new intermodal terminal in Stuart, south of Townsville. 

This $40 million facility will sit strategically at the junction of the Brisbane to Cairns and the Townsville to Mount Isa road and rail corridors, facilitating the removal of all rail activities from inner Townsville by June next year.

A total of 74 jobs are slated to be lost across the changes to maintenance work announced yesterday. However, as many as 800 positions may become redundant over the full extent of the operational cuts planned.

The company has recently signed off on three new enterprise agreements with its key workforces, an important part of which was the removal of a "no forced redundancy" rule that had been in place since the former state-owned business was privatised.

"Aurizon is implementing more modern and flexible work practices that are available in new enterprise agreements agreed in Queensland this year for approximately 5,000 employees," the company says.

"This will contribute significantly to improved performance and lower operating costs."

It says it will work closely with affected employees to manage the process fairly. 

"Aurizon is committed to a detailed consultation process with affected employees on significant workplace changes, and understands the significant impact of proposed changes on affected employees."

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