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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 67

(Question No. 764)

Senator Maguire asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 28 March 1984:

(1) Is Australian National Railways Commission (ANRC) planning to focus its railway workshop activities in South Australia more on one particular site in future compared with the present position of operating workshops at Port Augusta , Petersborough and Islington.

(2) What is the future of the locomotive and rolling stock workshops at Peterborough, Port Augusta and Islington.

(3) Is it planned in future to maintain employment at current levels in those workshops; if not, what changes in employment levels are envisaged.

(4) Does the ANRC plan to establish completely new railway workshops in the Adelaide metropolitan area; if so, is the cost of this project to be in excess of $20m and what are the reasons for the project.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) The Australian National Railways Commission (AN) has been continuously rationalising its workshop activities since the amalgamation of the systems in 1978. This has meant a reduction in the number of staff employed at the workshops in Port Augusta, Peterborough and Islington.

No. employed No. employed

March 1978 May 1984

Islington 1 328 1 025 Port Augusta 937 699 Peterborough 175 89

I am advised that this process of rationalisation is still continuing. While the basic role of the Port Augusta and Islington workshops will remain unchanged AN is reviewing further rationalisation of workshop activity between Port Augusta and Islington.

The Peterborough workshops will also continue present operations subject to periodic reviews of capacity and efficiency. AN has advised that a review it has carried out on these workshops recently has suggested that they are uneconomic compared to Port Augusta and Islington.

(3) Further rationalisation of workshop activities will inevitably mean further changes to the levels of employment at AN's workshops. The future levels of staffing will depend on the level of business undertaken by AN and the efficiency of the workshops in undertaking maintenance and construction works.

It is also AN's policy to inform employees of likely changes in employment levels and to hold consultations with unions prior to effecting changes.

(4) Provision of new rolling stock maintenance facilities at a site adjacent to the Islington workshops is currently under investigation. The estimated cost of this project is approximately $5.6m and a decision by AN in support of the project will depend upon the financial assessment of alternatives made as part of this investigation.