Rail Decision Will Save Lives, Jobs And Boost Tourism Says Union
RTBU Press Release: December 13
The announcement by the Australian government that it is willing to inject $78 million in capital funding to help save Tasmania's rail operations has been welcomed by the state's rail workers.
"This is a sensible decision for Tasmanian road safety, tourism and the economy of the state," said Rail Tram and Bus Union National Secretary Bob Hayden, who called on the Tasmanian Government and Pacific National to take up their part of the three-way rescue package
The Rail Tram and Bus Union, who have been campaigning to save the state's north-south rail corridor, says that the package will not only protect over 270 jobs in the state, but will keep over 300 extra trucks a day off Tasmania's roads.
"Keeping freight trains running on the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie line means that hundreds of trucks a day will be kept off the state?s roads,? said Mr. Hayden. ?This is a big plus for road safety."
Rail workers have also welcomed a planned injection of $3.75 million towards the cost of an expanded road and rail terminal at Bell Bay, and plans to contribute a further $5 million towards a proposed terminal at Brighton; on top of the rescue package,
"This is a bit of an early Christmas present for Tasmanian road users as well as the state's rail workers," said RTBU Tasmanian organizer Rex Neil. "Some of these rail workers have been retrenched two or three times, and were looking at that happening again.
"Accepting this package will end the uncertainty they have been facing and the state government shouldn't sneeze at it, especially three months out from a state election.
"All parties have to get fair dinkum about fixing the rail track in Tasmania and ensuring it is maintained and managed well into the future."
Mr. Neil called on Pacific National to make a significant upgrade of their locomotive fleet a priority to ensure that rail operations in Tasmania remain viable.