Greens MP Calls on Government to buyback airport line stations and remove unfair tax

Thursday, April 3, 2014 | Dr Mehreen Faruqi

Greens NSW Transport Spokesperson and member of the Legislative Council Committee undertaking the inquiry into removing or reducing station access fees at Sydney Airport, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has issued a dissenting report calling on the government to buy back the airport line stations.
"The inquiry has handed down its report, but it is missing a key recommendation that will increase patronage, reduce traffic congestion and remove the burden of the station access fee, which is essentially a government tax now, on workers - the government must buy back the airport line station.
"With only 11% of people going to the airport choosing to use the privately run line, it is time to call an end to this experiment, buyback the line and abolish the station access fee.
"The station access fee is essentially a tax on workers, commuters and tourists. Around four million dollars a month will soon go straight back to the Government, out of the pockets of low income workers, such a retail workers, cleaners and hotel workers.
"This government is using the airport stations as a cash cow and is unwilling to give up the $600 million it expects to gain from this unjust tax on the people of NSW.
"In 2011, the Parliamentary Budget Office estimated it would cost around $400 million to completely buyback the airport line stations and bring them into public ownership.
"While the government is not willing to buyback the airport line stations, they are spending not much more than this on WestConnex enabling works in the area, to improve traffic flows. These works will not be required once fees are removed and patronage increases, similar to that at Mascot and Green Square stations after the removal of the access fees at those stations.
"Whilst the committee has some useful recommendations, such as removing the fee for workers within the airport precinct, only buying back the stations and removing the station access fee for all travellers will deliver an efficient and effective solution to boost patronage numbers on the line, reduce traffic congestion and deliver long term relief for workers and commuters.