Newcastle transport sell-off a real risk to community
The NSW Government’s moves to sell off the Newcastle bus network is will cost local commuters dearly, workers said today.
NSW Transport Minister, Andrew Constance today told the Rail, Tram and Bus Union that the Government has plans to privatise the buses, light rail and ferry system in the Newcastle region from June 2016.
RTBU Bus Secretary, Chris Preston, said the announcement further highlights the NSW Government’s complete disregard for public transport in the region.
“This is a real slap in the face for the people of Newcastle,” Mr Preston said.
“The State Government has a responsibility to provide reliable, safe and affordable public transport systems. It’s out-sourcing its responsibility to the people of Newcastle.
“This is a classic case of the government putting profits ahead of people.
“Private companies care more about their shareholders than they do about providing quality services to commuters.
“When your main aim is to make a profit, you start to cut costs wherever you can. That’s when you start to see things like maintenance and services take a hit. We can’t afford to let that happen in Newcastle.
“Newcastle has already been dealt a real blow by the State Government, with the world-class rail line into the city torn up. This is just the last attack on the region.”
Mr Preston said that if the State Government insists on going down this path, it needs to ensure it allows State Transit – the company currently running the bus and ferry network and which has a long track record in transport management – to tender for the system.
“Why the State Government would say that it won’t let State Transit tender for the system beggars belief.
“If this is truly about providing the people of Newcastle with the best possible transport system, then surely the most qualified entities should be able to tender.”