“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” ― Albert Camus
Interview with Andrew Harding, CEO Aurizon
VICTORIA: Please introduce yourself
ANDREW HARDING: Andrew Harding, managing director and CEO Aurizon Holdings
VICTORIA: Previous employment ?
ANDREW HARDING: Chief executive Rio Tinto’s iron ore business .
VICTORIA: What is your alma mater?
ANDREW HARDING: I went to the University of New South Wales and I studied Engineering. At the same school was Greg Combet who went on to be the leader of the ACTU and Minister for Climate Change.
VICTORIA: So you’re Maaates?
Andrew Harding: I wouldn’t say that.
VICTORIA: So why did most of Australia’s top engineers come from University of New South Wales if you’re not all maaaates?
ANDREW HARDING: UNSW is a prestigious university.
VICTORIA: I wonder how UNSW compares with Chinese Engineering schools. Why doesn’t Aurizon Holdings pay any tax?
ANDREW HARDING: We do.
VICTORIA: A little over 1% of your net income ?
ANDREW HARDING: What is your source ?
VICTORIA: Michael West.
ANDREW HARDING: Michael West is not credible.
VICTORIA: He’s a forensic accountant who worked for Murdoch who supports coal.
ANDREW HARDING: Yes, but then Michael went rogue … fancy knocking mining and energy companies for a living when they are the lifeblood of our economy.
VICTORIA: Speaking about lifeblood, why did you withdraw your application to construct a rail link between Abbot Point and Galilee Basin?
ANDREW HARDING: We already own the corridor to Clermont plus we didn’t have the customers to justify such a project.
VICTORIA: What about Adani, why did you withdraw your application for finance to build a 388k rail line from the Galilee to the coast?
ANDREW HARDING: Adani don’t have final approval yet.
VICTORIA: Scott Morrison signed off on approval of water rights prior to going to the election this week.
ANDREW HARDING: Yes but they have to get through the Queensland government approvals process yet.
VICTORIA: The heatwave and fires in Queensland have hardened local opposition to the plan. You say you don’t have customers but aren’t you a monopoly which allows various rail operators to use to central Queensland rail network?
ANDREW HARDING: Yes that’s true plus we have our own operator which is Aurizon Operations proprietary limited.
VICTORIA: Then what about BHP, Hancock, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Peabody and Clive Palmer.?
ANDREW HARDING: I can’t discuss them because of ongoing litigation.
VICTORIA: Is that about your failure to meet competition policy ?
ANDREW HARDING: We dispute that.
VICTORIA: But there are no competitors, your railway lines run over a network which links to five coastal terminals at three ports.
ANDREW HARDING: That’s true, from North to South the terminals are Abbot Point coal terminal, Dalrymple Bay coal terminal, Hay Point coal terminal, Wiggins Island coal export terminal and RG Tanna coal terminal.
VICTORIA: Then what about Gina Rinehart ?
ANDREW HARDING: We have no choice, we will work with Gina. We’re in discussions with Jackie Trad about how much we can charge to carry Gina’s Coal.
VICTORIA: Why have you taken out a strategic lawsuit against public participation against the front line action on coal.
ANDREW HARDING: They are blocking our coal trucks.
VICTORIA: So they are a threat?
ANDREW HARDING: Not really, we’re just managing risk.
VICTORIA: You mean that Australians are turning against coal.
ANDREW HARDING: Coal is the lifeblood of Queensland.
VICTORIA: Isn’t the planet on fire and your refusal to change your business model may have catastrophic impacts on the welfare of our grandchildren?
ANDREW HARDING: We provide jobs and economic growth now and in the future.
VICTORIA: School kids say you’re a fossil fool so is Aurizon a train wreck just waiting to happen?
Victoria: I think we have to leave it there.
NB: This is a satirical piece with the names of the parties left in so that we do not protect the guilty.