Around 180 jobs are at risk as Aurizon announces plans to close its rollingstock maintenance workshop in Rockhampton, Queensland. The company has also announced its plans to “move to more flexible train crewing operations” in Central and North Queensland, which will result in a further 190 permanent train crew members leaving the company.
Aurizon intends to stage the closure of its Rockhampton workshop, ending in late 2018. There are a total of 181 employees who “may be impacted”, according to a statement from the company. Up to 40 affected employees are expected to have the opportunity for redeployment at the company’s Jilalan facility, while all apprenticeships at the Rockhampton facility (if not completed before the closure) will be completed at other facilities.
The company also intends to phase out 126 permanent train crew positions over the next year, at its Callemondah, Bluff, and Stanwell depots. This transition is expected to see the creation of approximately 70 locally-based train crew contractor positions over the same period.
An additional 62 permanent positions including train crew, freight operators and leaders, will be shed from Aurizon’s Mackay and Townsville depots, as the company will complete its haulage contract with Wilmar Sugar at the end of this year.
“Aurizon needs to continue to change in line with what our customers need if we are to remain competitive,” said Mike Carter, head of operations at Aurizon.
“Historically, most of our train crew have been permanent full-time employees and we have been unable to match fluctuations in weekly and monthly demand in train haulage services from coal customers or contract wins or losses.
“The amount of work required at [the Rockhampton] workshop has [also] significantly reduced in recent years. It is a legacy facility – designed for a different operating footprint in a different time – and is not located close to our operations in the Central Queensland Coal Network.
“Our future maintenance tasks will be best delivered at our newer facilities at Jilalan (Sarina), Stuart (Townsville), Willowburn (Toowoomba) and Callemondah (Gladstone), with components supply and non-core maintenance sourced from third parties.”
The Rockhampton workshop was first established in 1870s and includes a ‘roundhouse’ previously used to move locomotives into various maintenance bays. According to Aurizon, the heritage-listed roundhouse is largely preserved and provides an ideal opportunity for integration into any future urban development.