Jobs derailed as train deal ends

MARYBOROUGH'S Downer EDi will shed about 12 jobs in the next month as the Sunlander project comes to an end.

Downer spokesman Michael Sharp said the process of cutting jobs had already begun, with the company asking for expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy.

"We have begun consultation with our Maryborough workforce in relation to about 12 redundancies," Mr Sharp said.

"The consultation period will run for about a month."

The job cuts will reduce the workforce at Downer EDi from 317 employees to about 305.

A spokesman for Minister of Transport and Main Road Scott Emerson said Downer EDi was encouraged to apply for government contracts, both in Queensland and across Australia.

"Downer has received numerous government contracts in the past including a $200 million contract to refurbish two tilt trains and build a new one as part of the new Spirit of Queensland fleet," the spokesman said.

The Chronicle understands there has also been job losses among casual staff at Maryborough's CQMS Razer, but a union spokesman from CFMEU said that was due to a cyclical downturn and he was expecting workers to be rehired when work at the foundry increased.

Downer's announcement comes more than a year after Premier Campbell Newman visited Maryborough and announced changes to the Sunlander project.

At the time, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Brad Hansen said the announcement from the Premier cut the original contract given to Downer EDi significantly.

Initially 20 to 22 carriages were to be built according to the contract, but that was cut to 12 carriages, Mr Hansen said.

During his visit in February 2013, Mr Newman also announced Downer EDi would build two extra locomotives in addition to the two that were already being built.

But Mr Hansen claimed the original contract specified that four locomotives would be built.

"Mr Newman said the two additional locomotives brought the number of locomotives to four," Mr Hansen said.

"Strangely, four is the exact number of locomotives contained within the original contract."

Mr Emerson responded to the claims, made by Mr Hansen in March last year, by saying the value of the project was about the same as the previous Labor government had on the table.

Mr Emerson said the project had blown out from $189 million to almost $250 million under Labor, but the LNP changes would save $50 million.

He also said the previous government had only budgeted for two locomotives and that the public had not been misled on the issue.

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