11 October 2015

Request to the Townsville Bulletin, please report on Aurizon job cuts for Townsville and Rockhampton

Dear editorial staff at the Townsville Bulletin

Please report on the future job cuts recently announced by Aurizon. On 7 Oct, 2015 ABC Online, and various other major regional  news media outlets ran stories explaining that rail group Aurizon will be cutting 74 jobs from its Rockhampton and Townsville maintenance facilities - 34 of them coming from Townsville. Consultation is to begin by the end of the month with the actual job cuts being processed over the next three years. Verifying with a search on the Bulletin website has confirmed that no story has been published and this is a concern.

A search on the Bulletin website for "Aurizon" did not yield any of the grim, but absolutely important, job-cut news broken by other news outlets. 

The reason for the job cuts have to do with a “touch economic environment for Aurizon’s customers…The changes are part of the Company's ongoing transformation program, announced in mid-2013, to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and to focus for customers on the core business of rail freight.” Beyond Townsville and Rockhampton, Sydney Morning Herald reports that Aurizon is cutting more than 800 jobs across all divisions as part of $380m in savings needed to curb slumping resources demand world wide.

As the leading source for journalism in the Townsville region, your publication has a responsibility to the people of Townsville to provide important information they need to better assist and run their daily lives. The reality that Aurizon, a rail group integral to the Townsville’s economic strength historically, is facing tough economic times and are responding with cost-savings in the form of job cuts is news the local community needs to be made aware of - especially those involved in rail, shipping and resources industries.

This news is especially significant given that there may be confusion around the performance of Aurizon as well as Townsville as a whole economically. Recently, the Bulletin reported on the $40m Aurizon rail allocation to from the CBD to Stuart, describing the story as a positive boost for Townsville. While there is little argument against the positive outlook this move has for the city, without also reporting Aurizon’s announced job cuts in the local community, there could be confusion over the job security for Aurizon workers.

As a duty to keep your audience adequately informed about issue that are important to them, if steps are not already taken, please begin producing content on this information for Bulletin readers. The people need to know, or be reminded, that on balance, the resources sector is in decline and is expected to be for quite some time, and that a major employer in Townsville is responding by letting workers go.

Thank you