Rail­way chiefs’ bonus pay axed

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - KELMENY FRASER

DEPUTY Premier Jackie Trad has stepped in to end the gravy train at prob­lem-plagued Queens­land Rail – or­der­ing the ax­ing of tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in ex­ec­u­tive bonuses.

Ms Trad yes­ter­day con­firmed the be­lea­guered rail op­er­a­tor’s bosses would miss out on gen­er­ous per­for­mance bonuses as the trans­port body bat­tles to re­cover from a crip­pling driver short­age.

It comes a year af­ter the in­cep­tion of the “rail fail”, which led to the sud­den can­cel­la­tion of hun­dreds of ser­vices and forced the in­tro­duc­tion of a heav­ily scaled-back rail timetable. The de­ci­sion to freeze bonuses fol­lows crit­i­cism last year of a $77,000 per­for­mance pay­ment awarded to QR’s for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Kevin Wright at the height of the rail dra­mas.

Mr Wright re­signed just two months later af­ter another rail melt­down on Christ­mas Day.

Ms Trad (pic­tured), whose port­fo­lio in­cludes transpo r t , yes­ter­day said she and the QR board had ruled out any bonus- es be­ing awarded for the per­for­mance of ex­ec­u­tives in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year. The bonuses would or­di­nar­ily hit ex­ec­u­tives’ bank ac­counts some­time this month.

QR shelled out $286,000 in ex­ec­u­tive bonuses in 2016, ac­cord­ing to its an­nual re­port.

Its then chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer He­len Gluer earned a to­tal pay of $735,000 in 2015-16. Ms Gluer re­signed amid the mass ser­vice can­cel­la­tions last Oc­to­ber, with the lat­est an­nual re­port show­ing she was paid $519,000 that fi­nan­cial year when fac­tor­ing in long ser­vice leave.

Ex­ec­u­tive bonuses have tra­di­tion­ally been tied to meet­ing tar­gets, such as run­ning trains on time.

As re­vealed by The Sun­day Mail last month, ser­vices counted as run­ning on time in of­fi­cial statis­tics in­clude all­sta­tion train ser­vices sud­denly switched to run ex­press to avoid run­ning late.

QR doc­u­ments re­veal the prac­tice was ques­tioned in­ter­nally, but de­fended by QR ex­ec­u­tives. A Tran­sLink spokesman also de­fended the prac­tice, say­ing the num­ber of ser­vices that skipped sta­tions equated to 0.08 per cent of ser­vices in July this year.

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