Queensland Rail to become statutory authority and more passenger focused

QUEENSLAND Rail will be stripped of its status as a government-owned corporation and become a statutory authority.

The Newman Government Cabinet has today ticketed off on the plan as it attempts to drive efficiencies within the taxpayer-owned business.

The shift from a GOC structure to a statutory authority will allow Transport Minister Scott Emerson to directly control QR’s day-to-day operations rather than have to formally issue directives.

Mr Emerson told couriermail.com.au that it made no sense for QR to continue as a GOC when the profitable part of its business was sold off by the Bligh government.

He said he wanted QR to be “passenger rather than profit focussed” business but achieve efficient results for taxpayers at the same time.

“As a GOC they are set up to look for a profit,” Mr Emerson said.

“I want them set up to look to deliver for passengers.

“And it has got to be doing the right thing by taxpayers as well.”

The cost of QR is predicted to increase from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion over the next two years.

A secret report recently obtained by The Courier-Mail revealed QR’s costs per kilometre travelled were significantly higher than other rail networks in Australia.

Staff at QR will be informed this afternoon of the decision to alter the corporation’s structure.

This will mean they effectively become public servants however Mr Emerson insisted the move would not impact employment conditions.

“Employee entitlements will remain the same,” he said.

QR was made a government-owned corporation in 2006.

Mr Emerson said transferring QR into government hands would bring it closer to government, not privatisation.

However, while a decision is yet to be made on privatisation, he also said he didn’t envisage job cuts.

“Making Queensland Rail a statutory authority means staff will come under the same system as Queensland teachers, nurses and other public servants,” he said.

Legislation will be introduced to State Parliament this week with the change expected to take place from early May.

Queensland Rail

Source : couriermail

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