Public Transport

There is a climate emergency. The massive forest fires in Canada, the Lucifer heatwave engulfing southern Europe and Australia experiencing its warmest July on record have all happened within the past fortnight. Yet, Australia’s carbon emissions continue to rise.

The growing movement to prevent the Adani Carmichael coalmine, as well as fossil fuel divestment campaigns, show we are making headway. But activism is not enough.

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.

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.

The biggest privatisation scam in NSW history is about to start as the NSW Coalition government prepares to sell off the $17 billion WestConnex tollway. The government and its project adviser Goldman Sachs are expected to start a market-testing exercise, with a deadline of October for expressions of interest from major private corporations.

The total cost of building the controversial WestConnex tollway, plus necessary connecting roads, could reach $45 billion, according to an analysis by the Sydney City Council. The council's analysis adds the estimated $29 billion cost of building and widening new and existing roads to support traffic flows from the 33-kilometre project, to the $17 billion cost of WestConnex itself.

When it is suddenly announced that an eight-lane toll road is about to be tunnelled underneath a neighbourhood, it is no surprise that the community springs into action.

This is exactly what has happened over the past month in my neighbourhood of Newtown, one of the oldest suburbs of Sydney.

In the wake of the horrific burning to death of Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Sharma on October 28, the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) held a national day of respect on November 9 to highlight the issue of driver safety across Australia.

In a statement RTBU national president Phil Altieri said: “It was an honour to join sisters and brothers from across the union movement today in honouring Manmeet Sharma (Alisher).

The socialisation of essential services is fast becoming a formidable policy in the “contestable marketplace of ideas”. Nowhere is this more so than with railways and bus services; an everyday service all social demographics touch daily.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believes nationalisation and socialisation will save millions of pounds a year, get community members back to work, augment sustainable transport and retool British industries.

Anti-WestConnex tollway protesters picketed along the street in Salisbury Road, Newtown, on October 28, in opposition to attempts to carry out a test drill at the site. The drilling is part of the geological survey work required for possible future tunnelling under the nearby Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH).

Protests triggered by public transport fare increases in 2013.

Less than two years after Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff was re-elected as Brazil’s president, she was removed from office by the Brazilian senate.

The Brazilian right, which controls the senate, carried out a constitutional coup. In the process, they revealed their contempt for democracy.

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