Councillor Andrew Zbik Wants Lane Cove Council to Object to Bus “Privatisation”

    The number one public transport option for Lane Cove Commuters is buses.  Over the last couple of years, Lane Cove commuters have pushed for more bus services.

    In October 2019 the NSW State Government published a plan to “franchise” the buses servicing Sydney, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs and the Lower North Shore/CBD.  These Bus Areas would be operated by private contractors with the NSW Govt owning the buses and depots. The unions have labelled this move as privatisation)

    Councillor Andrew Zbik has tabled a Notice of Motion to be discussed on Monday 16th March at the Lane Cove Council’s March Meeting.  The Notice of Motion asks Lane Cove Council to write to the NSW Premier and our local member Anthony Roberts to express opposition to the proposed privatisation or franchise of local Sydney Buses services in the Lane Cove local government area.  He also wants to the Lane Cove Council to seek assurances that bus services enjoyed by the people of Lane Cove not be cut or removed.

    To support his motion Councillor Zbik highlighted the issues with Ausgrid since it has been privatised.

    His Notice of Motion includes the following:

    The recent storms in Lane Cove during February resulted in large parts of the Lane Cove LGA going without electricity for up to a week. On Monday 9th March during NSW Parliament Budget Estimates hearings is was revealed that Ausgrid is currently operating at its lowest staffing level in years, shedding almost 3,000 jobs under the current Government. The electricity operator’s workforce is 3228 – well below the legally required 3570 employees. What’s more, leaked documents revealed last week showed that Ausgrid has plans to cut another 500 jobs next year, bringing their total workforce down to almost 2,700. The reduced number of electricians that are employed by Ausgrid was cited as one of the major factors contributing to the delay in restoring electricity services to local residents. It is clear that the privatisation or the franchise of public owned entities has resulted in reduced quality of service delivery.

    Anthony Roberts in Favour of “Privatisation”

    Last year, ITC asked our Local Member the Hon Anthony Roberts to comment on this plan.  Anthony Roberts said that the system was not being privatised but was being opened up to the private sector to competitively tender to operate the buses.  He said this was the first step towards introducing a more flexible public transport system to benefit Lane Cove.  He noted that certain services during daytime are losing money and it would be better to have an on demand system during the day.

    It’s a shame that the only on-demand service in Lane Cove has recently been cancelled.  The Keoride buses from Lane Cove to Macquarie Park will no longer operate.  Read more here.

    Plan Not Well Received by Drivers or Commuters

    The Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW Branch launched a campaign and website to stop the privatisation and encouraged commuters and supporters to sign an online petition to stop the privatisation. (details  here) 

    Win for Ferry Users

    The only good news on the public transport front is the decision by the NSW Government not to change local ferry routes so that they terminate in Barangaroo.  Commuters wishing to go to circular quay would have needed to change ferries.   The State Government backed down on this proposal.  Read more here.

    What do you think?  Are you for or against “privatisation”?

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