QNMU's Rachael Dixon showing her protest against Aurizon's job cuts in Rockhampton.
QNMU's Rachael Dixon showing her protest against Aurizon's job cuts in Rockhampton. Matty Holdsworth

What about Rocky? What about Bluff? 'Aurizon just do not care'

SHE isn't personally affected and doesn't know anyone who is, but Rockhampton nurse Rachael Dixon cried out against Aurizon.

A member of the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union and a local all her life, Rachael joined the masses in this afternoon's protest.

She argued against the job cuts, the flow on effect and the giant's inability to care.

 

With the crowd chanting behind her, Rachael's last words summed it up.

"They just do not care," the ex-Emmaus College student said.

"It is not just the men and women who lose their jobs, it is about not being able to get house lone, their children not going to private schools, them leaving town.

"We were a booming, growing community but they have crippled us.

"These people live in Brisbane and have no idea or care for those who live regionally."

READ: Mums, dads and all rally against Aurizon.

On June 1, the company announced 181 Rockhampton workers would lose their jobs, as well as another 126 employees working at the Bluff, Gladstone and Stanwell depots. But Rachael's fears extended further than Rockhampton.

29 of those jobs will be taken from the small town of Bluff - a place with one teacher at the local school.

"I know a few people who come from Bluff and how proud they are to be from there," she said.

"It is a lovely little community and it will destroy them. Bluff has a school with 16 kids and one teacher. Take 29 jobs away from that town and it will be the end of it."

 

People gathered at Kershaw Gardens to protest the Auizon announcement that the Rockhampton maintenance facility is to be closed and jobs made redundant.
People gathered at Kershaw Gardens to protest the Auizon announcement that the Rockhampton maintenance facility is to be closed and jobs made redundant. Chris Ison ROK120717crally2

With an already frighteningly high suicide rate for CQ, Rachael's thoughts, being a nurse, were about mental health.

When the Aurizon news first broke, grown men and women were openly shedding tears over their upcoming prospects. Behind closed doors, it could have been even worse.

"The mental health side of things is going to be huge. You take away their ability to earn money and it will devastate entire families," she said.

"Some men that are looking at retirement but looking at another five or so years, who is going to hire them?

"It will seriously affect their ability to get up in the morning."

When the job cuts were originally announced, head of operations Mike Carter said the Aurizon business had changed significantly in recent years in line with changing market demand.

"Aurizon needs to continue to change in line with what our customers need if we are to remain competitive," Mr Carter said.

"Historically, most of our train crew have been permanent full-time employees and we have been unable to match fluctuations in weekly and monthly demand in train haulage services from coal customers or contract wins or losses.

"As a result we are proposing to change the composition of our train crew workforce in Central and North Queensland.

"This will involve engaging more contractors to provide greater flexibility for our customers. This will result in reducing the number of permanent full-time train drivers.

"In addition we have also commenced consultation with employees on the staged closure of the Rockhampton rollingstock maintenance workshops by late 2018."



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