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A QUEENSLAND Rail staffer has been sacked over issues linked to the ongoing rail timetable problems.
Transport Minister Jackie Trad released a statement this afternoon revealing a member of QR’s rail safety team had been dismissed over failing to properly plan for the introduction of new safety rules that came into effect on July 1.
She says it comes after assurances from QR the new rules would not impact the already strained rail timetable turned out to be incorrect, requiring QR to be given a three-month exemption from the new safety regulations.
“While other operators have obtained exemptions, Queensland Rail had previously assured me that the national regulation would not adversely impact on the Citytrain network,” Ms Trad says in the statement.
“Had this exemption not been granted, it is now clear that there would have been increased stress on the timetable,” she said.
“Queensland Rail did not adequately analyse, plan and prepare for the potential impact of the national safety regulation on their operations.
“As a result of this, the Head of Queensland Rail’s Safety, Assurance and Environment team, who led Queensland Rail’s response to the new regulation has been dismissed.
“Queensland Rail will work with the national regulator to resolve this issue without affecting the current timetable, which was recently independently assured through the Strachan Inquiry recommended stress test.”
The exemption from the Rail Safety National Law Regulations 2012 will allow Citytrain traincrew to continue to work more than 12 shifts in a 14 day period — meaning they can deliver the current timetable.
According to Ms Trad, this can occur on a voluntary basis and meets current EBA provisions and existing rigorous fatigue management provisions in place before the new laws took effect.
“I want to be clear that safety is a top priority. Queensland Rail services will still be operating safely, and must still operate in accordance with strict National Fatigue Laws and within the existing rigorous fatigue management framework that is overseen by the National Regulator,” she said.
“The former State Rail Safety Regulator also audited Queensland Rail’s compliance with fatigue management requirements in the last several months, including since train driver overtime levels increased, to ensure Queensland Rail has again met and fully complied with its stringent safety procedures and processes.”
It is just the latest exit from QR’s linked to the Citytrain timetable fiasco, which has been marked by a series of high profile resignations and sackings since late last year.
The timetable issues then had only come to light with the sudden cancellation of hundreds of services, but had been brewing behind the scenes at QR for months.
It triggered the resignations last year of QR’s chief executive officer Helen Gluer and board chairman Michael Klug, along with the exits of several executives and managers.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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