Tas, $20m Tasmanian rail network upgrade derailed
#1
Tas, $20m Tasmanian rail network upgrade derailed
BY JULIAN BURGESS BUSINESS REPORTER
LST, 3/09/2008 9:37:00 AM
Maintenance supplies stockpiled: rail workers
WORKERS at rail operator Pacific National's Launceston workshops say $20 million of government money has been spent on stockpiling materials instead of upgrading the State's rail network.
Concerned workers, whose futures are uncertain as they wait for the outcome of the rail sale process, say the lack of promised maintenance is putting the future of rail in Tasmania at risk.
Worker spokesman Tim Olissoff said that staff had been told that only the $4 million-a-year State Government commitment was being used on upgrading the network while $20 million in materials had been stockpiled.
The Infrastructure Department said that as of yesterday $19.9 million of Federal Government funds had been spent on capital works "either completed or in progress" and a further $31.2 million in capital works tenders were being assessed.
The revelations come on the same day a Pacific National goods train derailed at Deloraine.
Mr Olissoff, who is employed by contract labour firm Skilled, has worked at Pacific National's Launceston workshops for the past two years.
"As far as maintenance of the locomotives goes Pacific National seem to be holding up their end of the bargain by supplying whatever's needed to keep them going," he said.
"We've heard that the Government has spent $20 million on track repair and we find out they've stockpiled the rail and the sleepers and everything and they've only spent $4 million.
"As far as Pacific National is concerned they should have spent $28 million."
He said that 80 per cent of Pacific National derailments were due solely to the track.
"If the track is not up to scratch it knocks the hell out of our locomotives."
Greens infrastructure spokesman Tim Morris said that under the 10-year rail rescue deed the Federal Government was to provide about $14 million a year in the first two years.
He said that the deal was in its second year and little of the federal money appeared to have been spent on upgrading the network.
Mr Morris said that five key tenders for track work had yet to be let -
•Installation of 140,000 sleepers and 20km of rail (closed May 16, estimated start July 1).
•Supply of 60,000-100,000 tonnes of ballast (closed July 2, estimated start July 7).
•Supply 3000 concrete sleepers (closed July 9, estimated start date July 31).
•Replacement of the Mountford bridge decking (closed July 9, estimated start August 31).
•Refurbishment of level crossings (closed July 30, estimated start September 1).
Mr Morris said that the Government seemed incapable of understanding the urgency in getting the State's rail upgrade completed. "Because of the Government's failure to get its tenders let within a reasonable time they are now failing to meet the commitments they signed up to in the rail rescue package, meaning that PN is unable to run trains efficiently without causing derailments," Mr Morris said. Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges has admitted the Government and Pacific National are in dispute over payment for $500,000 worth of maintenance work.
Mr Olissoff, who is employed by contract labour firm Skilled, has worked at Pacific National's Launceston workshops for the past two years.
"As far as maintenance of the locomotives goes Pacific National seem to be holding up their end of the bargain by supplying whatever's needed to keep them going," he said.
"We've heard that the Government has spent $20 million on track repair and we find out they've stockpiled the rail and the sleepers and everything and they've only spent $4 million.
"As far as Pacific National is concerned they should have spent $28 million."
He said that 80 per cent of Pacific National derailments were due solely to the track.
"If the track is not up to scratch it knocks the hell out of our locomotives."
Greens infrastructure spokesman Tim Morris said that under the 10-year rail rescue deed the Federal Government was to provide about $14 million a year in the first two years.
He said that the deal was in its second year and little of the federal money appeared to have been spent on upgrading the network.
Mr Morris said that five key tenders for track work had yet to be let -
•Installation of 140,000 sleepers and 20km of rail (closed May 16, estimated start July 1).
•Supply of 60,000-100,000 tonnes of ballast (closed July 2, estimated start July 7).
•Supply 3000 concrete sleepers (closed July 9, estimated start date July 31).
•Replacement of the Mountford bridge decking (closed July 9, estimated start August 31).
•Refurbishment of level crossings (closed July 30, estimated start September 1).
Mr Morris said that the Government seemed incapable of understanding the urgency in getting the State's rail upgrade completed. "Because of the Government's failure to get its tenders let within a reasonable time they are now failing to meet the commitments they signed up to in the rail rescue package, meaning that PN is unable to run trains efficiently without causing derailments," Mr Morris said. Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges has admitted the Government and Pacific National are in dispute over payment for $500,000 worth of maintenance work.


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)