Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Newman Government Move to Privatise Public Transport

30 April 2013

It is with enormous disappointment that I have to advise members that today the Newman Government (who cruised to power due to rail privatisation) has accepted almost all the recommendations to privatise public transport contained in the Costello (Commission of Audit) Report.

I have attached a copy of the Government’s response to the public transport recommendations for your information.

The first accepted recommendation provides for the tendering out of the operation and maintenance for infrastructure which is in line with the way Kennett privatised in Victoria.
The second accepted recommendation is for the tendering out of long distance and tourist passenger rail operations.
The third recommendation accepted by the Newman Government is for tenders to be sought for bus services contracts which would impact on the Brisbane City Council bus service.
The fourth recommendation is for the Mt Isa rail freight line to be transferred to the Port of Townsville with the view to dis-investment (sale) of the business. The Government has indicated that further investigation is required with no sale before the next election.
The final public transport recommendation seeks for all regional maintenance tasks to be outsourced through competitive tendering processes. This has also been accepted by the Government.

Naturally the RTBU will not stand by and allow a mass privatisation process to be instigated without challenge and the RTBU anti-privatisation campaign commences forthwith.

The people of Queensland were outraged when the previous Government privatised the freight arm of QR. They punished that Government at the last election by electing the Newman Government overwhelmingly.

It is important that we ensure the Newman Government understands that changing the language of privatisation from asset sales to outsourcing is certainly not going to fool the people of Queensland. Privatisation is privatisation regardless of how one describes it. Queenslanders are opposed to privatisation and it is time for us all to work hard to ensure the community fully understands that that is exactly what is happening in QR.

The RTBU has also substantial membership in the Brisbane City Council bus operations and members will of course note that there’s a potential threat of privatisation through contracting out (competitive tendering) for bus members also.

Be it privatisation in rail or privatisation in bus the RTBU will be supporting our members’ campaigns to fight any privatisation in our industry.

The evidence is there of what can be done. The Bligh Government was prepared to commit political suicide rather than acknowledge the massive defeat they suffered in the face of the anti-privatisation campaign during the last term of Government. The question is whether this Government will also ignore the will of the people. If they do, there will be a price to be paid.

The Branch Executive will be meeting shortly to discuss our initial response and we will ensure members are kept fully informed.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary