Transport Privatisation and Secret Contracts a Recipe for Disaster for Newcastle

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | Dr Mehreen Faruqi

Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has said the lack of transparency and the open-ended nature of the privatisation contract with Keolis Downer is a recipe for disaster for Newcastle.

The contract to privatise and run all Newcastle public transport was awarded to Keolis Downer in December 2016. The contract has been reported  to be worth $450 million over ten years, but will include so called financial incentives for additional patronage. It is unclear whether the additional money that Keolis Downer will receive will be open to public scrutiny,

“Secret contracts and sweetheart deals with private companies are a recipe for disaster. The reality is the NSW Government doesn’t know how much this contract could end up costing the taxpayers. Perhaps they don’t even care, given their ‘privatise at all costs’ agenda.

“There is no commitment to transparency so the community can’t have any faith in what the Government says. We know privatisation has been a failure in Melbourne, with the Victorian Auditor-General finding the Government had very little knowledge if operators were even meeting performance targets.

“The private sector monopoly over public transport in Newcastle is all about profit and has nothing to do with customer service, reliability or convenience.

“If they are going to proceed with this terrible plan to privatise Newcastle public transport, they at least need to commit to public information and transparency so we can hold them to account. But given the track record of this Government on transparency, I am not going to hold my breath.” she concluded.

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