Queensland Government Election and the fate of QR Brisbane

 
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
I just wonder if what I hear is true might be announced after a potential LNP victory in Queensland.  QR to be franchised out to another operator in the south of the country.

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  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I just wonder if what I hear is true might be announced after a potential LNP victory in Queensland.  QR to be franchised out to another operator in the south of the country.
8077
QR do not operate in the south of the country, ie outside Queensland.

If you meant in SE Queensland, that would leave QR to run the Gulflander, the KSR services, the RTT, The Spirit of Queensland. The Spirit of the Outback, The Inlander, the Westlander and a few works trains...

You wouldn't think that would be viable?
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

I think he means it will be leased (sold) to an operator from south of the border. Metro Trains, or similar.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Metro trains have no experience in running long distance services.

Giving metro services to them work however the rumour at the moment is they maybe handed vline.

Vline, Sydney and Brisbane together with Melbourne. How could they deliver all of that service ?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I just wonder if what I hear is true might be announced after a potential LNP victory in Queensland.  QR to be franchised out to another operator in the south of the country.
8077
Travel Train probably would benefit from a fresh pair of eyes with similar experience running the business, but it won't be a "southern Operator" and it won't simply palmed off to fend for itself. Lease with subsidy intact and incentive to reduce costs/attract more FF.

Old City Train also won't be simply sold or leased out to fend for itself, it will at most be a franchise and include the subsidy with again incentives to reduce costs.

Will either happen? Who knows, don't listen to rumours, few in this industry ever seem to come true especially anything related to an election. Closure of the Westie service would be case in point. Neither of the above leases would generate money for the govt so not the cash flow priority the govt is after. The Vic franchise has been difficult to identify cost savings vs govt ownership as the Kennent govt got most of the easy and large cash savings prior to privatisation. I suspect if anything this helped keep things moving at the other suburban operators under the quiet threat of being franchised out. If anything I think TT will probably go to franchise.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Metro trains have no experience in running long distance services.
freightgate
That's a stupid line of reasoning. By that logic, any new rail operator anywhere shouldn't run trains because they don't have any "experience" running anything anywhere. Why did we let Metro into Australia, at the time they had "no experience running Australian passenger trains"? Seriously, why can't people think first...
  mb67 Junior Train Controller

Who knows, don't listen to rumours, few in this industry ever seem to come true especially anything related to an election.
RTT_Rules
This. The rail industry loves a good rumor, both externally and internally amongst it's employees. There has been /nothing/ said to even suggest Queensland Rail as it is to be leased. The only things that are on the cards is the ARTC involvement in the Mt Isa corridor.
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
This. The rail industry loves a good rumor, both externally and internally amongst it's employees. There has been /nothing/ said to even suggest Queensland Rail as it is to be leased. The only things that are on the cards is the ARTC involvement in the Mt Isa corridor.
mb67
Well, to add fuel to that rumour fire, I saw a Queensland Rail release which stated that the ARTC was considering leasing all lines *except* the Mount Isa corridor.  I am reasonably sure that the current Queensland Government is looking at leasing the corridor + Port of Townsville as a single entity.  It's far too much of a big ticket item to be given to the ARTC as a hand me down.

There's even a rumour that Aurizon is looking to buy it. Smile
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Well, to add fuel to that rumour fire, I saw a Queensland Rail release which stated that the ARTC was considering leasing all lines *except* the Mount Isa corridor.  I am reasonably sure that the current Queensland Government is looking at leasing the corridor + Port of Townsville as a single entity.  It's far too much of a big ticket item to be given to the ARTC as a hand me down.

There's even a rumour that Aurizon is looking to buy it. Smile
Johnmc

Aurizon and PN (via Asciano) would be the most likely contenders for the Mt Isa line and Townsville Port. In fact, because of the port I would put Asciano as the contender with the best fit for the lease. Aurizon, however, remains the company with the cash, having a market value of $10.36-billion this morning, while Asciano is worth $5.86-billion - so if they were keen enough, Aurizon is best positioned to win in a bidding war. A very real possibility would be an Aurizon/Qube consortium too, both have vested interests in the corridor and the port - and already have shared assets elsewhere. Either way, combining the port and rail corridor as a single lease should (on paper) produce a big modal shift back to rail as the port/rail operator will want to maximise its rail asset rather than encouraging use of the parallel Flinders Highway.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
What is for "sale/lease" is the Mt Isa track and T'ville Port infrastructure, not the trains. PN and Aurizon are also not big owners of track infrastructure, focusing mainly on playing 1:1 scale trains. The largest private track infrastructure owner outside ARTC and state govt's is probably BHP or RTA? PN also doesn't have a good "track" history in owning fixed infrastructure. Fixed infrastructure is a higher risk than running trains as you cannot relocate it when markets change.

In short I think we could see a long list of venture capitalists and/or infrastructure focused companies bid on it.

ARTC I doubt will get involved as little advantage for them to do so and I doubt ARTC masters would let them get involved in a commercial venture that doesn't need govt assistance for the benefit of the national rail network.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Can I ask why the mt Isa line needs to be privatised ?

What is the problem the government is trying to solve ?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Can I ask why the mt Isa line needs to be privatised ?

What is the problem the government is trying to solve ?
freightgate
The Queensland Government wants to lease state owned assets to reduce debt. The Mt Isa Line and Townsville Port will be one lease, the Gladstone Port another. Electricity generators and distributors are also up for grabs.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

What is for "sale/lease" is the Mt Isa track and T'ville Port infrastructure, not the trains. PN and Aurizon are also not big owners of track infrastructure, focusing mainly on playing 1:1 scale trains. The largest private track infrastructure owner outside ARTC and state govt's is probably BHP or RTA? PN also doesn't have a good "track" history in owning fixed infrastructure. Fixed infrastructure is a higher risk than running trains as you cannot relocate it when markets change.

In short I think we could see a long list of venture capitalists and/or infrastructure focused companies bid on it.

ARTC I doubt will get involved as little advantage for them to do so and I doubt ARTC masters would let them get involved in a commercial venture that doesn't need govt assistance for the benefit of the national rail network.
RTT_Rules
While it's possible that neither Asciano and Aurizon will bid, I do think they will be interested...as will a host of other players. Asciano's interest will be focused on the port rather than the railway, but with one it gets the other...it is currently the only Australian-owned port operator and is under a lot of pressure from DP World and Hutchinson to grow or end up a takeover target. Aurizon owns 2670km of track in Queensland and is actively planning to build new lines into the Galilee Basin and the Pilbara (which of course may not happen). Aurizon would also recognise that its greater market capitalisation (compared to Asciano) is from owning assets rather than using someone else's...so I suspect Aurizon (and its largest investor the Children's Investment Fund - previously heavily invested in CSX) will be particularly hungry for any solid performing rail asset coming up for sale/lease to grow the company's value.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Can I ask why the mt Isa line needs to be privatised ?

What is the problem the government is trying to solve ?
freightgate
As mentioned by Sulla1, Debt reduction is the main driver but there is also an ideological/political reason as well which both sides suffer from.

1) It a political hot potato with the line getting frequent media attention about the lack of money the govt should or should not be spending on it. This has been going on many years and I question how much is simply perception and how much is reality. The  CQ coal systems have similar issues to the Qld govt in the past (right or wrong) especially during he coal booms when even the miners got in on the band wagon, but the Hunter didn't seem to have the same political fall out.

2) Ideology side of things. Why should the govt need to retain ownership? If its a viable commercial operation, remove the cotton wool, cut the cord and let someone else run it and use the lease/sale revenues to fund other infrastructure projects/reduce debt. Obviously being a fixed asset the owner will have a interest in attracting more tonnage. Having a non-operator removes any risk of conflict of interest and jointly the two operators (or more in future) can rally for upgrades etc. Its a very industrial line and hence let industry manage itself.

I'm thinking a 3rd party non operator owner will have a better outcome than having either of the two current rail operators.
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
The Queensland election is fast approaching. Can someone from Queensland please summarise the promises made by both sides?

the LNP looks to be in a little trouble?
  mb67 Junior Train Controller

Well, LNP has plans to privatise Queensland Regional and Suburban rail services.

http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=630

Attached is a document taken from the LNP Government’s website indicating their preference to privatise Queensland Rail through a tendering process. (points 15 & 16) Below the references to Rail you will find the same reference to Bus operations.

The second column displays the Newman Cabinet’s position on the Costello Report (Independent Queensland Commission of Audit) recommendations (which is “accepted") The Independent Chair of the Audit was Peter Costello.

http://www.rtbu.com.au/_dbase_upl/betterservicesforqld.pdf
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
It would appear @8077 was on the money.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Well, LNP has plans to privatise Queensland Regional and Suburban rail services.

http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=630

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http://www.rtbu.com.au/_dbase_upl/betterservicesforqld.pdf
mb67

Preference to do something does not equal they will actually do it. Although I believe they will if they can demonstrate there will be a cost saving to the taxpayers. Without this it will be hard to sell to public.

Next thing, so what? Drivers will still drive trains, guys will still need to fix tracks and trains. Same job different shirt. The most likely people to loose their job are top order management for which are unlikely to be members of the RTBU.

"The RTBU is not asking members to vote for any specific party but are strongly encouraging members to fill all the boxes on their ballot papers ensuring they put the LNP last."

Question for the RTBU. Which party signed the franchise renewal in Vic?
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
"The RTBU is not asking members to vote for any specific party but are strongly encouraging members to fill all the boxes on their ballot papers ensuring they put the LNP last."
RTT_Rules


The union that I am a member of is strongly advocating this as well.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The union that I am a member of is strongly advocating this as well.
Graham4405
The same party that sold QRN after saying they wouldn't
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
That report talks about privatisation of buses, but to my knowledge the only government run buses in Queensland are run by the Brisbane City Council, not the State.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
The Queensland election is fast approaching. Can someone from Queensland please summarise the promises made by both sides?

the LNP looks to be in a little trouble?
BenGibbons
ALP is making modest promises based on funding not yet revealed 11:30am 29/01.

LNP is making large promi$es$ based on the idea there are billions to be made by selling/long term leasing govt, read citizens of Qld, assets. The principle of service provided and govt profit replaced by personal profit. Apparently they have already sold/leased all TAFE buildings, something I don't recall hearing in the news. (Think about higher power prices and the result of leasing rail ops in Tas. To me also reminicent of Commonwealth promises made on the basis of a superprofits tax... )
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
ALP is making modest promises based on funding not yet revealed 11:30am 29/01.

LNP is making large promi$es$ based on the idea there are billions to be made by selling/long term leasing govt, read citizens of Qld, assets. The principle of service provided and govt profit replaced by personal profit. Apparently they have already sold/leased all TAFE buildings, something I don't recall hearing in the news. (Think about higher power prices and the result of leasing rail ops in Tas. To me also reminicent of Commonwealth promises made on the basis of a superprofits tax... )
GrahamH
Govt departments are not required to make press release statements when they sell something.

The Citizens of Qld own about as much of these assets as does Rio Tinto share holders own a mine. ie they don't.

There is no proven link between sale of power assets and high power prices. Past Qld govt jacked them up while in govt ownership enough.

Tasrail got a stay of execution as stated by the (ALP) Tas govt at the time. They got a massive cash injection that has no hope what so ever of ever being repaid and were told this is your last chance. Most of their customers have closed and left the state.
  MelbourneCity Chief Commissioner

That's a stupid line of reasoning. By that logic, any new rail operator anywhere shouldn't run trains because they don't have any "experience" running anything anywhere. Why did we let Metro into Australia, at the time they had "no experience running Australian passenger trains"? Seriously, why can't people think first...
Raichase
Further, you can't just award a long term contract without putting it out to tender.

Metro Trains Melbourne as a business wouldn't be interested in QR Citytrain. There's no chance of MTM running Brisbanes trains.
However, it's major shareholder Hong Kong's MTR could very well be, and it may choose to bid for any contract along side it's partners in MTM.

If the LNP do win tomorrow there's nothing stopping them splitting QR further so that regional services remain state operated but metropolitan go private. Theres nothing wrong with private operators, provided the contract and performance expectations are tight.

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