These days I'm General Manager of a Darwin based company, nothing rail related though, but regardless when calculating what an employee costs many factors are used.
We do not just use gross salary, we use gross salary plus statutory costs such as superannuation, workers compensation insurance, public liability insurance and then add things like portable long service for construction industry workers.
We then add in company vehicles, fuel, servicing, company mobiles phones, uniforms, tools, right down to how much tea, coffee and toilet paper we supply.
Then we add on costs such as Supervisors, Administration Staff and Managers who are required to support the operational staff.
Get a pen and paper out and start adding that up.
15k company vehicle
2.5k company phone
1.5k workers comp
1.5k public liability insurance
$1k upkeep of staff facilities
then add at least 25% to that for Managerial and Admin support
Then lets toss in ongoing training etc for around $5000 a year
Then a percentage of payroll tax.
and then annual leave and sick pay liabilities.
And the above does not even touch shift allowances and overtime payments which can easily double a base salary.
The cost of a single employee is way beyond what most people ever consider.
But don't get me wrong here, if I'm paying you $240k and I'm recovering your costs and making at least a 25% profit I'm happy, but if I could find a way to pay you half of that and make a 75% profit I'd do it in the blink of an eye.
It's a business not a charity.
The whole "it's so expensive here" argument is a crock, do you want to earn $240k or not ? If not go back to dog patch, if you do want that sort of remuneration get back to work and stop complaining or take what ever qualification you have to any major city and try and get the same conditions and pay, that's right it's just not going to happen.
What do the Amish say ? "Make hay while the sun shines"