TasRail is a vertically integrated, short haul, freight rail business that was created by combining the Below Rail assets (that the State had assumed responsibility for in 2007) with all of the Above Rail and Business Assets purchased from Pacific National in late 2009, including the Emu Bay Railway. Administration of rail funding from the Australian Government transferred from the Rail Management Branch within the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources to TasRail late in 2009. This completed the amalgamation of the whole operating rail network within Tasmania, along with responsibility for future upgrading of the Below and Above Rail elements of the business.
Below Rail operations are responsible to upgrade, maintain and operate the railway network and supporting infrastructure. Similar to the State’s road network, the rail network is a critical piece of infrastructure that generates only limited revenue and requires annual government funding to ensure that it is maintained to an appropriate safety standard.
The Above Rail business operates terminals, bulk handling and shiploading facilities and train services in response to customer requirements. It is also responsible to upgrade, maintain and operate the rollingstock fleet and to manage safe and authorised access to the network.
As an integrated business, TasRail is committed to delivering transport and logistics solutions that are safe, reliable and sustainable.
Creating jobs, showcasing local skills
The funds being invested in the upgrade of the Tasmanian Rail Network, plus the revenue generated by TasRail’s rail freight operations and the salaries it pays to its workforce are providing a welcome economic stimulus for the State.
Since it was established on 1 December 2009 TasRail has spent $97.7 million purchasing goods and services from more than 900 Tasmanian registered companies (to 30 June 2012). The socio-economic benefits that flow from this activity are helping to support regional economies and to create many new direct and indirect employment opportunities. To 30 June 2012, some $54.2 million of project works has been awarded to TasRail’s preferred Contactor Panel. The Panel was appointed through an open market tender process and comprises VEC Civil Engineering, John Holland, Downer-EDI, Abi Group (partnering with Gradco) for rail specific work; and Digga Excavations Pty Limited and Sutcliffes Earthmoving Pty Limited for corridor maintenance and emergency works.
Each of the six companies appointed to the Panel has successfully demonstrated they have the prerequisite skills and competency to complete works on the rail network to the required Standard, in effect being awarded ‘Contractor Preferred’ status. The Tasmanian companies represented on TasRail’s Contractor Panel have benefited from works to the value of $39.3 million, representing 73 per cent of the total contractor spend to 30 June 2012.