Thursday, September 17, 2009

QR striving for world-class in the safety arena

Lance Hockridge, CEO, QR Limited

The rail industry is quite passionate on the issue of safety, although it is generally acknowledged that the industry still has a long way to go in improving its existing safety record. How far has your organisation gone in its quest to achieve ‘zero harm’?
I certainly agree that this is the most important issue we face and I believe the industry as a whole sees this as the most important issue. I have been at QR for almost 2 years and this is the thing we’ve concentrated on most, the thing we need to change most.

We’ve brought in some people who I believe are the best in the world to help us and we are making a lot of progress. Mainly its about engaging with our people, about making sure everybody in the organisation knows what we are doing, that everyone understands what the standards are that we are trying to achieve, and that everyone gets involved. Lots of good things are happening right across our company, but its not enough, we are still a long way from where we need to be.

I look forward to being part of this debate at AusRAIL. I know all of us across the industry want to do a better job and we are all sharing our experience about how to do that. I am confident that over the next year or two we will take our industry to world-class performance in the safety arena.

• The theme for AusRAIL Plus 2009 is “Doing More with Less”. In the current economic climate, how important is this in helping the industry achieve its long term goals?
It is really important that we are coming together at this time. For most of us this is the deepest recession that we’ve ever experienced, the biggest change we’ve ever experienced in such a short period of time.

We’ve got a real mixture across our businesses, parts continue to run flat out, for example at QR in our resource sector, we’re struggling to keep up, on the other hand, parts of the general freight business are really flat.

So this is the time to focus on change, a time to focus on getting better to really take advantage of the attributes that we have as rail for our customers. At QR it is a time of ‘getting fit’.

However, we do need to look to the future. As an industry and as individual companies we can’t afford to just ‘hunker down’ through this period. We know that we have such a strong future for our businesses and our industry as a whole. We have to find that balance and that is why the theme of ‘doing more with less’ is so important to us all.

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