AusRAIL

Union campaigns against NSW track lease plan

<p>The New South Wales combined rail unions have launched a campaign to stop the state’s rural rail network being leased to the Federal Government.</p> <p>The campaign, "Keep our Railway Together", is designed to protect jobs in a number of regional areas, including more than 100 at the Hunter Coal network, the unions said.</p> <p>New South Wales Labor Council secretary John Robertson said as many as 1,500 rural jobs would be lost if the take-over went ahead.</p> <p>"The Australian Rail Track Corporation wants to take over the rail tracks, break up the network and force workers to bid against each other to keep their jobs," he said.</p> <p>"Where this has been tried overseas, the results have been disastrous, with massive job losses and decreased safety, leading to rail fatalities."</p> <p>The unions want NSW premier Bob Carr to reject outright "any move to give up control of NSW rail track and commit to a single chain of command controlling this important public asset".</p> <p>A spokesman for the NSW state development minister, Michael Egan, last week said the government was &#8220still assessing&#8221 the proposal.</p> <br />