Current industrial action is likely to cost the NSW economy millions the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has advised today.
ARTC has estimated the economic cost of a 24 hour stoppage to be around $10m– with the total cost to the NSW economy likely to be much greater as industrial action continues.
“This is in addition to the real, visible harm that is being caused to local communities, families, businesses and freight providers that rely on rail. The elderly who can’t make doctor visits, the commuters late for work, the families with weekend plans ruined,” ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.
“Not to mention the irreparable harm this action has caused to the freight rail industry – a cost that we will have to count in the weeks, months and years ahead; at a time the whole industry is hurting and jobs are being lost in a competitive freight environment.”
“Our major customers have had to lay off thousands of staff because of the difficult economic conditions they have faced in recent years,” said Mr Fullerton.
“There are four major industry sectors as well as passenger rail operators that rely on ARTC’s network. They are all counting the cost of this action – from lost export tonnages, delayed or cancelled freight, to extra fuel, crewing and alternative transport costs.
“These very sectors – domestic manufacturers, the steel industry, coal and minerals exporters as well as domestic importers – are among the industries that have been facing the toughest of economic conditions in recent times.”
More than a million tonnes of freight – including freight that ends up on supermarket shelves – and up to 10,000 passenger customers will be impacted by this action should it conclude on Sunday – but the likelihood at this stage is further industrial action may occur.
“The sad thing is, we all want the same outcome – a vibrant, commercially strong, modern rail freight industry, but the action the Unions are taking is effectively cutting off the nose to spite the face,” Mr Fullerton said.
“There is a fair offer on the table but what is not fair is that thousands of rail passengers and millions of tonnes of freight is being disrupted.”
“Every disruption results in a direct and indirect cost to the community and businesses – in loss of time, money and productivity. This action is hurting our industry – but the real loser is the NSW consumer,” Mr Fullerton said.
“I am calling on the Unions to recognise the impact this action is having on the NSW community and economy and call a stop to the action now.”
Media contact: Bas Bolyn, ARTC, 0477 340 658
Please find background and further details in the .pdf attached to this story, this includes a response to union claims, service information update and outline of factors contributing to economic cost.