For more than 20 years, ARTC’s focus has been on facilitating the movement of freight across the country for the benefit of the Australian economy and Australian jobs. Never has this been so critical than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the outset of the pandemic, the freight and transport industry was deemed an essential service – a responsibility ARTC has and continues to take very seriously.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we’ve put in place strict preventative measures to protect our essential workers and the local communities in which we operate. Ultimately, these measures have enabled us to fulfil our critical role in keeping goods moving across the nation to ensure shelves remain stocked for Australians.
Key initiatives as part of our COVID-19 response include:
- Formation of a Pandemic Response Group and Crisis Management Team, including cross-business representation
- Creation of an information hub for our staff, as well as regular updates and support of our people
- Activated business continuity plans and other arrangements to support and isolate our critical business functions, such as our Network Control Centres
- For maintenance and projects works, strict guidance around physical distancing, working in groups, hygiene practices, interactions with the community and regular health and hygiene checks
- Flexible working from home arrangements for a large sector of our staff
- Limiting all non-essential and domestic travel and delivering as much work where possible with locally based employees and contractors (rather than intra or interstate workers)
- Working with our contractor partners and suppliers to ensure appropriate standards are in place for workers and de-scoping non-essential project works
- We continue to actively work with governments and health authorities to understand and mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus, and to guide our own decision-making.
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What measures has ARTC implemented in response to COVID-19, in particular for Network Control Centres?
ARTC has implemented a range of preventative measures across the organisation to ensure all our staff are appropriately protected and supported. With regards to our Network Control Centres, we have limited access to essential staff only as part of other preventative measures to help safeguard the critical services that our NCCs perform to ensure the safe operation of our rail network.
How will ARTC manage the rail network if you have an outbreak of COVID-19 or a shortage of staff?
ARTC maintains business continuity plans for priority activities, which cover the loss of availability of critical staff and workplaces. Scenario planning continues to be undertaken to work through additional contingency plans specific to this situation.
Why are people from ARTC still going to work?
ARTC provides an essential service as part of the national freight and transport industry, and it is within current government guidelines that workers who cannot work remotely may go to work.
What is the definition of an “essential service”?
The freight and logistics sector has been declared an essential service by State and Federal Governments – and this includes the ARTC rail network. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the increase in demand for goods, the freight supply chain is critical to ensure supplies get to customers around the country.
Who can access ARTC workplaces during the pandemic?
Only visitors deemed essential may enter ARTC workplaces at this time.
Are you continuing with work on the Inland Rail project?
Yes. This is a vital project providing much-needed jobs and support to the economy.
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