Aurizon presents plan to save itself $230 million

FREIGHT giant Aurizon will wring an extra $230 million from its national operations between now and 2015, but its major sites in Rockhampton and Mackay are unlikely to face the axe.

The former QR National released its plans through a presentation to the ASX on Thursday.

It broke the $230 million figure into two areas - $130 million through increasing productivity and $100 million in cutting "support costs".

Under both, "labour" is shown as the largest target for saving money.

The announcement also warns of changes to its yards, terminals and maintenance sites.

An Aurizon spokesman said redundancy programs would be focused on corporate parts of the business, not on-the-ground workers at its major facilities.

These major sites included those at Jilalan, south of Mackay, and in Rockhampton.

Aurizon's goal is for every worker to do more, rather than simply thinning the workforce.

It will look at shutting down some of its 50 workshops and yards nationally, but again, the major Central Queensland hubs are likely to be spared.

Aurizon managing director Lance Hockridge told APN its glut of sites was a hark back to its past as a government-owned firm.

"Many of the facilities we have are representative of our past life, past emphasis and past technology," Mr Hockridge said.

"A good deal of what we've been doing in recent years, has been tidying that up."

He said there had already been some closures in Central Queensland sites.

Leaps in technology meant automated systems were now able to diagnose risks to Aurizon-owned locomotives and wagons in place of workers walking for kilometres along tracks looking for faults.

Mr Hockridge said Aurizon would keep growing "despite economic headwinds", including China's slowing growth and a lacklustre international coal market.

An Aurizon spokesman said it was too early to say how many jobs or facilities would be affected by its hunt for savings.

Topics:  asx aurizon freight qr national

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