Qld train driver targets appear distant

Warren Barnsley

The Queensland government has to employ 164 new train drivers over the next 13 months to reach a recruitment target sparked by a staff-related commuter crisis.

A net 36 new drivers have been employed since the crisis began in October 2016, Transport Minister Mark Bailey revealed on Wednesday, well short of the 200 intended by June 30, 2019.

It would mean Queensland Rail would need to increase its recruitment efforts from 2.4 average net new drivers employed per month, recorded since the target was outlined in a January 2017 report, to more than 12.

Mr Bailey released the number in response to a claim by Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington that just five new drivers net had been recruited following the crisis.

The claim was based on a report from January, with Mr Bailey accusing Ms Frecklington of misleading given the data was old and did not include tutor drivers.

"Deb Frecklington's relentless negativity and desperate misuse of old data to grab a headline calls into question her integrity as a leader," he said in a statement.

Mr Bailey said while 77 new drivers had begun working, some had retired and others transitioned to other roles in QR, including 16 tutors who only drove in times of peak demand.

The target was sparked by significant disruptions to the network more than a year-and-a-half ago, which was the result of rostering failures when a new line put extra pressure on the timetable.