Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Privatisation of North-West Corridor Back on Government Agenda

Some weeks ago the RTBU was advised by both Government and the ARTC that the investigation into the ARTC taking over the control and operation of the QR network outside the South East passenger area would include all regional freight corridors including Townsville to Mt Isa. (ARTC is the Federal Government owned Network Company that operates the freight below rail business in most other states.)

This was confirmed in separate meetings to the RTBU. Whilst the RTBU, at this stage, has not developed a final position in any respect of ARTC, it was clear to the Union that ARTC taking over the freight network would remove the threat of privatisation from the North West corridor which Government appeared to be planning to sell this off along with the Townsville port (See Costello Report.)

Last week the RTBU was advised by the Government that the North West corridor would not now be included in the ARTC investigation into whether or not they could reach an agreement with the Government to take over the running of the line. Subsequently, this was confirmed to me personally, at a meeting with the Queensland Government Treasurer, Tim Nicholls, who made it clear that this was not an option for the ARTC.

Whilst the Government have indicated they have not yet made their mind up in relation to the potential privatisation, it is quite clear that the recent removal of the North West corridor from consideration by the ARTC indicates that the Government is not prepared to look at alternative options. Otherwise this option would have been at least investigated.

The RTBU will oppose privatisation under this Government just as much as we did under the previous Bligh Government. It should be noted that the ARTC understood that when the announcement of the investigation into the potential takeover of the QR regional network by ARTC was made by the Federal and State Transport Ministers last month, the North West corridor between Mt Isa and Townsville was an integral part of the proposal.

I will keep members advised of all developments in relation to this matter as they occur.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary
Queensland Branch