Lauga: Aurizon should come clean on plans for Rocky workshop
KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga has demanded Aurizon declare their hand on the future of their soon-to-be-vacated rail workshop site, and local jobs.
At yesterday's Rockhampton press conference, Mrs Lauga recounted a meeting she had with Aurizon CEO Andrew Harding soon after their announcement to shut down the Rockhampton rolling stock workshop as part of a major overhaul of their Queensland workforce.
During the meeting, she told him in no uncertain terms that the community didn't want to see the land repurposed for a residential development.
"Now almost seven months after their announcement of the closure I'm calling on Aurizon to come clean about what they are actually proposing to do with those workshops here in Rockhampton," Mrs Lauga said.
"We actually want to see the reuse of the facility in a way that supports local manufacturing jobs."
Given the proud history of the site and that 200 qualified workers are employed there, she said it would be "incredibly disappointing if Aurizon mothballs that facility", resulting in a loss in the local job skills base.
In a comparable situation, Townsville's rail yards have been redeveloped into residential apartments, commercial premises and a new football stadium.
An Aurizon spokesman said they were committed to working collaboratively with local community and government representatives on any proposals that were put forward for the redevelopment of the site.
"We have an open mind on what that might be and how we can create a valuable asset for the Rockhampton community. We are pleased with the engagement to date with various representatives," the spokesman said.
"Ms Lauga's comments are disappointing given that both the Member and her office have previously been briefed by Aurizon. We reiterate again our willingness to work constructively with Mrs Lauga and all levels of government on options for redevelopment of the site.
"Aurizon will continue to have a large presence in the Rockhampton region with more than 650 employees across its various businesses, and a total of 2000 employees across Central Queensland."
He said in September 2017 Aurizon announced a $6.4 million refurbishment of its administration building in Rockhampton where up to 200 roles would be relocated from Brisbane and other metropolitan areas to support the refurbishment.
"Works are on schedule for completion in June 2018," he said.