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Qld premier backs transport minister

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016 Jamie McKinnell and Melissa Grant

Queensland's premier has thrown her support behind Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe as he faces intensified calls to resign over a train timetabling fiasco.

Annastacia Palaszczuk is instead blaming Queensland Rail (QR) and the previous Liberal National Party government for train driver shortages, which has forced the cancellation of over 100 services.

Mr Hinchliffe has also rejected calls for his resignation despite revelations his department received an email in March warning him of the looming shortages.

As the opposition intensified calls for Mr Hinchliffe to step down, Ms Palaszczuk blamed them for cutting "train trainer" funding when in power and said QR was also at fault for failing to alert the minister about the issue.

When asked whether Mr Hinchliffe should resign she said he'd advised he was 100 per cent committed to fixing the problem.

"I think everybody is incredibly angry this has happened but now we need to fix it up," she said.

But Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said Ms Palaszczuk must be wondering what to do with her "incompetent" transport minister.

"The real question that commuters have is why are they paying the price because Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn't have the guts to sack an incompetent minister," he said.

"Stirling Hinchliffe should resign."

The situation has already led to QR chief executive Helen Gluer and board chairman Michael Klug quitting while the service continues to operate on an interim timetable.

Calls for Mr Hinchliffe's resignation have intensified after it emerged Queensland-based public transport advocate Paul Pluta sent his office an email flagging trouble ahead with the Moreton Bay rail link as well as a lack of drivers the network was receiving.

In his correspondence, Mr Pluta warned the driver shortage would make headlines.

"Your current drivers can't drive the trains, and you need 60 more and you have not begun training," Mr Pluta said.

Mr Hinchliffe said he sought advice from QR following the email.

"That advice included reassurances from QR that the train crewing issues were being dealt with," he said on Sunday.

The minister reiterated his position that the advice he received from QR was that the issues would not affect the October timetable.

Asked whether he would stand down as minister, Mr Hinchliffe flatly replied: "No".

He also laid blame at the feet of the previous LNP government, under whose watch QR staff were reduced by 25 trainers.

"There's no question that the core of this, the slippery slope on this was commenced by the cuts made by the LNP," Mr Hinchliffe said.

Mr Hinchliffe would not say how much blame he thought Labor should accept for the debacle.

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