bus privatisation

The NSW Coalition government has brought down a budget designed to bedazzle NSW voters ahead of the 2019 March state election.

The Coalition’s election war chest is made up of a massive surplus from increases in revenue from Commonwealth grants, rising land taxes and the proceeds from the sale of state assets — boosted by the federal government’s Asset Recycling Scheme.

Newcastle’s bus drivers have been repeatedly underpaid since the city’s public transport system was privatised on July 1.

About 70 workers have been underpaid between $200 and $600 since then.

The NSW government awarded Keolis Downer a 10-year contract to operate Newcastle’s public transport system of buses, ferries and the new light rail last year.

It was the first time in Australia that one company was awarded a contract to operate a city’s entire transport system.

More than 300 unionists and local residents protested outside the electorate office of Liberal MP for Drummoyne John Sidoti on August 4.

Chanting “John Sidoti’s got to go!” and waving placards opposing the NSW government’s planned privatisation of public buses in the Inner West, the protest elicited much support from passing motorists and pedestrians. There was no response, however, from Sidoti’s office.

Flags from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Australian Services Union (ASU) were prominent.

Bus drivers and supporters rallied outside Burwood Bus Depot on July 20 to oppose plans by the NSW Coalition government to privatise Inner West bus services.

At the rally, petitions containing around 14,000 signatures against the bus privatisation were handed over to Labor and Greens MPs. Petitions with more than 10,000 signatures trigger a debate in state parliament.

The government reportedly announced a call for corporate expressions of interest in the privatisation the same day.

A Commuter Action Day was held across the Inner West of Sydney on July 5 to oppose the state government’s proposed privatisation of Region 6 of the metropolitan bus network.

Volunteers gathered at bus stops across the inner west to speak to commuters, get signatures on petitions and hand out information about why privatising Sydney buses will result in worse services, cancelled routes and closed bus stops.

More than 200 people packed into the Pitt Street Uniting Church on June 28 to protest the state government’s plans to privatise public bus services in the city's inner west.

The community assembly, organised by UnionsNSW and the Sydney Alliance, drew bus drivers and other workers, unionists and concerned members of the public to join the growing campaign to stop the sell-off of public transport.

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