Union members and commuters protested outside New South Wales Coalition Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s office in Martin Place on December 2 in response to her government’s plan to privatise the remainder of Sydney’s bus services.
Buses have already been sold off in the city's inner west and Newcastle, with disastrous results for commuters, including buses running late, service and route cuts and the loss of many bus stops.
The state government announced in October that early next year it would open all 13 of Sydney's metropolitan bus contracts to competitive tender over the next three years. This includes the remaining three regions in the Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs and Ryde/Willoughby.
Speakers at the rally called Berejiklian a “liar”, as she had specifically ruled out additional privatisations days before the state elections in March. A petition demanding no sell-offs, with 11,000 signatures, was presented to the protesters.
Rail Tram and Bus Union NSW bus division secretary David Babineau said transport minister Andrew Constance’s efforts to deny the buses were being privatised, but merely “franchised”, was a “play on words … nothing else."
“When private companies are involved in the provision of public service, it’s a form of privatisation,” Babineau said.
Other speakers included a transport specialist from Sydney University, a commuter from North Sydney, UnionsNSW secretary Mark Morey, NSW Greens MLC Abigail Boyd and Labor state opposition leader Jodi McKay.
[To find out more about the campaign and get involved visit ourtransport.org.au.]