“Approximately 75%, or more than 4000, of our people already live and work in towns and shires from Cairns to Kalgoorlie.
“However, bringing more of our leadership and support services closer to frontline operations will enable us to enhance our connection and relationships with our customers. Over the next few years I will be focusing on locating more of our people in regional areas where it makes sense.”
Mr Harding said the recent decision to close the workshops in Rockhampton was a very difficult one.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“While I appreciate, it is difficult for those employees impacted I am pleased that there is now an opportunity to grow other parts of our business in the regions.”
Aurizon continues to have a large presence in the Rockhampton region with more than 650 employees across its various businesses and a total of 2,000 employees across Central Queensland.
Mr Harding said the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the Murray Street facility would be undertaken subject to Rockhampton City Council approvals and would modernise the building, provide extra capacity as well as contemporary work spaces.
He said he expected up to 200 roles from Brisbane and other metropolitan areas to be relocated to Rockhampton over the next few years.
“Due to the nature of some roles we will always have a need for some people to be based in our head office in Brisbane, however there are many support services that can be co-located with our teams in the regions,” Mr Harding said.
“This year we have already relocated the business heads of our Coal (Ed McKeiver) and Bulk (Clay McDonald) businesses to Mackay, Queensland and Perth, Western Australia, respectively.
“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.”