LNP Government reduces stake in Qld Rail from 34 to 16 per cent
The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has again called on the Queensland Government to ditch its plans for future asset sales after privately-owned rail operator Aurizon announced another 50 jobs to go in North Queensland.
“This latest round of job losses is a prime example of the damage caused by a government which sells off our public assets – the assets we, as taxpayers, own and should keep.
“The LNP Government back-flipped on its pre-election promise not to sell any more shares in Queensland Rail, but then went ahead and reduced its stake in QRN from 34% to 16%.
“I understand Aurizon is cutting these 50 jobs to compete with Pacific National.
“The former Queensland Government encouraged the introduction of Pacific National to make the rail industry more competitive – another mistake!
“Why doesn’t the government focus on making our own State-owned assets more competitive instead of bringing in competition which costs jobs?
“Aurizon is being forced to compete in an environment created by governments selling off public assets.
“There are 36 jobs on the line in Charters Towers, 3 in Mount Isa and 22 in Townsville – all along this Townsville to Mount Isa rail corridor.
“Little towns in the North West will be taking hits for the next 2-3 years.
“Small towns are dying. These (job cuts) are scary for us,” said Mr Katter.
He renewed his call for the Queensland Government to halt further privatisation of rail services, saying the experiment on the Mount Isa to Townsville line has failed.
“The Queensland Government should stop abrogating its social and economic responsibilities by privatising services.
The Government needs to provide good economic and social outcomes – it’s not all about the bottom line.
“What’s the point of making the service a little bit better if our towns are closing down?” said Mr Katter.