Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Pacific National's Tasmanian rail operations.



Download PDFDownload PDF

MEDIA RELEASE

THE HON WARREN TRUSS MP AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL SERVICES DEPUTY LEADER OF THE NATIONALS

DOTARS05/031WT

30 September 2005

Pacific National's Tasmanian rail operations

Australian Government Transport Minister Warren Truss today sent a stern message to the Toll/Patricks joint venture Pacific National that taxpayers can not be expected to subsidise profitable companies.

Mr Truss said he had today received a copy of Pacific National's 89-word proposed "rescue plan" for the Tasmanian rail service.

The 12-line document proposes that taxpayers commit to a $78 million capital investment in the track and ongoing maintenance expenditure of $4 million a year.

"Since my appointment to the Transport portfolio less than three months ago, I have met with senior executives from Pacific National and its parent companies Toll Holdings and Patrick Corporation," Mr Truss said.

"At none of those meetings were concerns raised with me about the viability of the Tasmanian rail network. Nor had any of these companies previously written to me about the matter. Now they are asking for $100 million over 10 years from taxpayers' pockets - more than $1 million for every word contained in their "rescue plan" briefing note.

"The Australian Government will not succumb to Pacific National's media campaign threatening that if its ambit claims on the taxpayers of Tasmania and Australia are not met it will cease its container freight service in that state.

"Pacific National purchased the lease over the Tasmanian rail network less than two years ago.

"It has provided no explanation as to what has changed in that short period to suddenly render their container network non-viable.

"Given Pacific National's apparent intention to walk away from its commitments when it bought the lease granted by the Tasmanian Government, I propose to discuss with Tasmanian Minister Bryan Green the commissioning of an independent evaluation of the rail network and its role in the future of the Tasmanian freight transport system.

"The Howard Government is prepared to assist the Tasmanian Government in funding such an assessment.

"In the meantime, I will be expecting Pacific National to maintain its normal services in Tasmania."

Media contact: Tim Langmead (02) 6277 7680 or 0418 221 433