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Aurizon will spend $6.4 million to refurbish its administration building in Rockhampton, part of an effort to bring more of the company’s resources and people to regional areas.
Andrew Harding, Aurizon’s CEO and managing director, indicated that 200 roles would be relocated from Brisbane and other cities to support the refurbishment in the major Queensland town.
“I am a big believer in our people being close to our operations and the customers we serve,” Harding said.
Over 4000 Aurizon employees – approximately 75% of the company’s workforce – live and work in regional towns and areas.
Harding said that it was important that Aurizon brought more of its leadership and support services to these areas of frontline operations, saying it would help bolster the company’s connection with its customers.
“Over the next few years I will be focusing on locating more of our people in regional areas where it makes sense,” he said.
Aurizon has over the past year relocated its head of coal operations, Ed Mckeiver, to Mackay in Queensland, and head of bulk operations, Clay McDonald, to Perth.
The decision to allocate more staff and resources to Rockhampton comes after Aurizon’s closure of workshops there, which Harding said had been a difficult but necessary move for the company.
“The closure of our workshops was necessary due to increased competition changing requirements for the way we maintain our rollingstock of locomotives and wagons. It was designed for a different operating footprint in a different time and does not fit with our current coal rail operations,” Harding said.
The Aurizon CEO acknowledged the difficulties that the change caused for employees that have been impacted, but emphasised the opportunities now available to grow the business in other regions.
“We are working closely with employees on staged closure and in the first phase impacting 19 employees we have redeployed five to other parts of our business, five are training to be train drivers, and nine have accepted redundancy packages.”
Aurizon currently has around 650 employees in the Rockhampton region, a significant portion of the 2,000 it has working across central Queensland.
“As we embed our new business model, we will put a greater focus on locating roles closer to our operations where so many of our people already live and work,” Harding said.
The refurbishment works on the administration building would focus on modernising the building and providing capacity and more contemporary work spaces.
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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