South Australia’s Opposition says it will reverse the State Government’s plan to privatise Adelaide’s train and tram services if elected in 2022.
- SA’s Liberal Government plans to outsource operations of Adelaide’s train and tram network
- Labor says it would reverse the privatisation if elected
- Labor privatised several government assets while in power
The Government said its decision to outsource the services’ operations was justified because the city’s trains and trams were underperforming, with one of the lowest patronage levels in the country.
Speaking ahead of today’s annual Labor State Convention, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said a private company would not work in the interests of public transport users.
“It makes no sense to hand this over to a private network, who will make it less efficient and more about profit,” he said.
“We need public transport to be a key service operating in the interests of people, not operating in the interests of an overseas shareholder.”
He said the tram and train networks should be improved rather than sold off.
“This is an unacceptable outcome,” he said.
“We have a good transport system here in South Australia, but there is always room for improvement, but that’s what government should do — they should improve the service, not sell it off to a private company.”
Government says outsourcing will improve service
Under the State Government’s plans, announced in July, it will still own and control “rail assets”, including trains, trams, tracks and stations, and will continue to set fares for travel.
The Government is also reviewing the public transport system to better integrate the train, tram and bus systems.
Bus services were privatised in the year 2000, by then-Liberal premier John Olsen.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said Mr Malinauskas’s announcement today was hypocritical because Labor also privatised assets while in government.
“When it comes to privatising, their record on this issue is there for all to see: four major assets — the Motor Accident Commission, the Lands Titles Office, forests, the lotteries — all flogged off by this government,” Mr Knoll said.
“In fact, upon coming to Government, we were surprised to find furniture in the offices.”
The former Labor government renewed private bus contracts in 2011.
Mr Knoll said South Australians did not care as much about who ran public transport as whether it came on time and frequently, and was clean, safe and cheap.
“They’re the things that South Australians care about and they’re the things that the Marshall Liberal Government is keen to deliver through an outsourced model that we know delivers better services at a lower cost,” he said.