||Issue No. 286||21 October 2005|
Lord of the Lobster Legs
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Thus Spake Sydney Uni
Vote 1 Dictator
Buying peace Of Mind
Rev Kev Speaks
Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck
Pacific National has held off for a month on closing the rail network while state and federal governments conduct a study into demands by PNT for over $100 million to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Both governments, which claimed ignorance over threats to the system faced by poor rolling stock and infrastructure, were embarrassed when a leaked AusLink application showed that the Tasmanian Government had asked for $215million last year. AusLink is the federal governments transport funding model.
Over 50 rail workers were joined by local bus drivers and other residents at PNT's Launceston maintenance depot, all expressing anger at the threat and dismayed at the effect that the loss would have on the Tasmanian community.
"Not only does this threaten the livelihoods of almost 200 Tasmanian rail workers and their families, it would also see an extra 2000 trucks a week on the State's roads, which will be a disaster for road safety," said Rail Tram and Bus Union National Organiser Greg Harvey.
"On top of that thousands of other jobs across the state will be hanging by a thread if rail is closed."
The viability of Norska Skogg paper mill and the Zinifex zinc smelter, who between them employ thousands of Tasmanians, has been called into question if the mill shuts down.
"Tasmanian rail workers and their families deserve better than being used as a bargaining chip in a dispute over who is going to pay for much needed infrastructure investment.
"This rally shows the deep level of concern in the community over the threat to shut rail in Tasmania."
The rally marked the beginning of a community campaign against Pacific National's move to close its rail freight operation.
"We are speaking with a wide range of community groups who will be affected if this hair-brained idea goes through," said Harvey.
"Pacific National and State and Federal governments need to come up with a solution that meets the needs of the Tasmanian community.
Following the rally Harvey told a forum in Hobart on the future of Tasmanian rail in Hobart that rail workers were disappointed the Federal Government was not more actively involved.
"We recognise that the State government takes this issue seriously. But we need Pacific National and state and federal governments to fix this problem.
"We don't care who fixes it, just fix it."
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