HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN: Rockhampton Rail Workers demonstrate over public assets sale by Premier Anna Bligh in 2009.
HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN: Rockhampton Rail Workers demonstrate over public assets sale by Premier Anna Bligh in 2009.

Landry challenges Labor Senator over Rocky rail yard sale

THE bitterness surrounding Labor’s decision to sell off Rockhampton’s rail workshops has returned to the surface after the Queensland Premier confirmed her government was in negotiations to buy back the site and revive the city’s rail manufacturing industry.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry has called on Labor’s Queensland Senator Murray Watt to clarify his position on the Labor Government’s land purchase plan, and to explain his involvement in assisting the sell off in 2010.

“This announcement is proof that the Labor Party treats Central Queenslanders with utter contempt,” Ms Landry said.

“Senator Watt was then-Premier Bligh’s chief of staff and right hand man in 2008, a year before she announced plans to sell off QR.

SITE VISIT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Treasurer Cameron Dick, Transport Minister Mark Bailey, Minister for Manufacturing Glenn Butcher, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga toured Rockhampton’s former Aurizon rail manufacturing site last week.
SITE VISIT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Treasurer Cameron Dick, Transport Minister Mark Bailey, Minister for Manufacturing Glenn Butcher, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga toured Rockhampton’s former Aurizon rail manufacturing site last week.

“He has previously stated he does not recall being personally involved in the decision. This is a strange admission as he was Premier Bligh’s chief of staff. Was he off sick on the day they made the decision, or did he simply shut his ears when they discussed it around him?”

She said his previous statement was even more confusing when it is reported that he seconded the motion in supporting the sale of assets at the 2009 Annual State Conference of the Australian Labor Party – Queensland Branch.

“Senator Watt has serious questions to answer on his involvement in selling off rail assets in Rockhampton,” she said.

According to Ms Landry, there was still considerable uncertainty expressed by workers and small businesses in Rockhampton regarding the election commitment.

READ MORE: JOBS BONANZA: Rocky’s rail revival plan to create 500 jobs

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry with the LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins, Keppel's Adrian de Groot and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Rockhampton last week.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry with the LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins, Keppel's Adrian de Groot and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Rockhampton last week.

“Workers who worked at the rail yards and small businesses who relied on the rail yards to earn a living are once bitten and twice shy when it comes to Labor,” she said.

“No one knows how much the purchase of land is going to be, nor, a timeline of when it’s going happen.”

Senator Watt responded to Ms Landry saying Federal Labor and the Palaszczuk Government were both committed to seeing a strong rail manufacturing industry in Queensland into the future.

Senator Murray Watt addresses an anti-casualisation rally in front of Michelle Landry’s office in Rockhampton last week.
Senator Murray Watt addresses an anti-casualisation rally in front of Michelle Landry’s office in Rockhampton last week.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to rail in Rockhampton is an important part of Labor’s economy recovery plan,” Senator Watt said.

“It stands in stark contrast to Campbell Newman, Deb Frecklington and the LNP buying trains from India, at the expense of Queensland manufacturers.”



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