Train drivers are being paid almost half a million dollars in overtime weekly.
Train drivers are being paid almost half a million dollars in overtime weekly.

Gobsmacking Queensland Rail overtime bill

TAXPAYERS are forking out almost half a million dollars in overtime each week to train drivers and guards almost 2½ years after the rail fail.

State Government figures tabled in State Parliament revealed the overtime bill for the past five months was almost $10 million, with more than $442,000 paid out each week.

Opposition Transport spokes­man Steve Minnikin said an LNP Question on Notice had forced the Government to reveal the "staggering bill".

"Annastacia Palaszczuk's priorities are all wrong and she has absolutely no idea how to fix her rail fail," he said.

 

Shadow Transport Minister Steve Minnikin says the Premier probably “has absolutely no idea” to fix the rail fails. Picture: AAP/Sarah Marshall
Shadow Transport Minister Steve Minnikin says the Premier probably “has absolutely no idea” to fix the rail fails. Picture: AAP/Sarah Marshall

 

"Queenslanders are sick and tired of train services being cut and the constant delays as a ­result of this incompetent Labor Palaszczuk Government. Only the LNP has a plan to mop up Labor's rail fail, invest in the network, restore services and give Queenslanders a rail system they can truly depend on."

In October 2016, a severe driver shortage was exposed when Queensland Rail's timetable spectacularly collapsed, resulting in the sudden cancellation of hundreds of rail services.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said in his tabled statement that it was "not unusual" for train crews to operate with a "certain level of overtime" to meet demand changes in the network. "Strict standards and processes are in place to ensure that rosters and any offered overtime comply with Queensland Rail's fatigue-management policies and mandated working hour provisions under the national rail safety law," he said.

Mr Bailey said that overtime hours as a proportion of total work hours had dropped almost 5 per cent for drivers and guards since ­October 2016. In the last two weeks of ­October last year, QR paid more than $1 million in overtime to drivers and guards, according to Mr Bailey.

He said the former LNP government had overseen massive increases in the overtime bill in 2014-15 and created a net reduction in train drivers during its time in office.