Aurizon announces new investment as it cancels old EBAs

Aurizon Holdings has announced the investment of $180 million in new track machines to increase productivity for the Central Queensland Coal network.

The Morning Bulletin reported that Aurizon managing director Lance Hockridge revealed the new track machines and wagons at a ceremony in Sarina last week.

The investment in 40 specialised track machines and wagons will enable better maintenance of the 2670 kilometres of rail lines that service 25,000 coal haulage services each year.

The track machines are 62 metres long and weigh 193 tonnes.

"Track construction and maintenance, like Aurizon, has been transformed in recent times," Hockridge said at the ceremony attended by 60 employees last Thursday.

"We are now more productive, more innovative, using world-leading technology and most importantly we are safer.

"These massive machines operate on the $5 billion asset which is the Central Queensland Coal Network, the supply chain that links more than 40 mines with the state's export ports.

Hockridge said the Central Queensland Coal Network carried record volumes of 214 million tonnes last financial year.

"This investment in new track machines is fundamental to driving even higher tonnage throughput for our customers, while improving safety and reliability across the network,” he said.

On the same day Aurizon announced it would give effect to the Fair Work Commission decision to terminate 12 expired Enterprise Agreements prior to settling on new agreements with affected workers.

Around 3500 employees, including train drivers, rail operations, and construction and maintenance workers will now be subject to the Rail Industry Award 2010, which Aurizon described as “less favourable”.

“The termination of the old agreements means a range of legacy conditions that are a hangover from government ownership and restrict Aurizon from making changes in a competitive market, will disappear,” Hockridge said.

“We are pleased with progress in our negotiations with unions since the Commission’s decision in April.

“Aurizon is seeking a negotiated outcome on new enterprise agreements that are contemporary and forward-looking, and match those already agreed by unions with our direct competitors.

Aurizon’s main competitor in minerals haulage is Pacific National, covering coal and steel haulage on the Eastern seaboard.

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