SYDNEY FERRIES FLOGGED OFF TO MULTINATIONAL CONSORTIUM
Thursday May 3, 2012
SAD DAY FOR OUR CITY – SYDNEY FERRIES FLOGGED OFF TO MULTINATIONAL CONSORTIUM
GET SET FOR FARE HIKES AND SERVICE CUTS
The O'Farrell Government must guarantee that commuters won't lose a single service or face steep fare hikes as it sells off Sydney Ferries to a multinational consortium, Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe said today.
Multinational consortium Harbour City Ferries will operate Sydney's ferry system from mid-2012. However, it will inherit an ageing fleet – and the Government is refusing to outline a plan for its replacement.
"It's a terribly sad day to see Sydney Ferries being sold off to a multinational consortium," Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe said.
"Sydney Ferries serves 14 million passengers annually and has always been part of our city's heart and soul. It's just not right if profits made off the back of commuters will now be sent overseas.
"In selling off the iconic Sydney Ferries, the Government must guarantee commuters won't lose services or face steep fare hikes as its new multinational owners seek to gouge higher profits.
"Labor in Government did not privatise Sydney Ferries because we decided that a privatised entity would put profits first – and commuters dead last.
"When Gladys Berejiklian announces that she's flogging off Sydney Ferries to a multinational today, she must stake her career on an assurance that every single service will be maintained.
"But I have grave fears that the opposite is true – that Sydney ferry commuters face a bleak future of spiralling fares and a significantly downsized timetable.
"Harbour City Ferries is a multinational consortium of Veolia Transdev and Transfield Services. In South Australia, Transfield has just been fined $121,345 for poor performance of its bus network and the O'Farrell Government must explain why it has rewarded a company with this track record.
"The Minister must also reveal how she plans to upgrade Sydney's ageing ferry fleet. To this day, Ms Berejiklian has refused to answer questions and denied freedom-of-information requests.
"There was absolutely no need for this privatisation. Under the previous Labor Government, Sydney Ferries went through a significant reform process leading to 99.6 percent service reliability, 98.7 percent on-time running and a 15 percent decrease in cost per passenger over the last three years.
"There was a significant reduction in commuter complaints – and passenger growth from 13 million in 2007-08 to 14.5 million in 2010-11.
"Our iconic green-and-yellow ferry services should always remain in public hands. Sydney's waterways connect north, south, east and west.
They are a gift that belongs to us all.
"Today a piece of Sydney's heritage has been lost and we are all the poorer."
MEDIA CONTACT: ALAN MASCARENHAS 0408819025