Privatising public transport in an epidemic will put community safety at risk

The NSW And South Australian state governments are putting community safety at risk by privatising public transport services in the middle of a deadly global pandemic.


Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) National Secretary Mark Diamond today called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to intervene and retain government control of key public transport services in Sydney and Adelaide.

“The NSW and South Australian Governments are persisting with plan to privatise key parts of their urban public transport networks despite the global pandemic crisis," Mr Diamond said.

“These privatisations are all about cutting the cost of providing services. Inevitably that means taking short-cuts on cleaning and hygiene, which will put the health of both commuters and workers at risk.”

Mr Diamond said the Spanish Government has nationalised private hospitals, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bringing passenger rail back under government control in response to the pandemic crisis.

“Now, more than ever, the people of Australia are relying on governments to provide them with the public services they need.

“It is just inconceivable that any government could seriously think this is the time to hand control of vital public services to private companies.”


Mr Diamond said transport workers could not be expected to continue risking their own health when State Governments were outsourcing their safety obligations.

“Given the massive impact this crisis is having on jobs, we need to see State Governments re-engaging with the economy and employing more people – not less.

“While public transport is normally state issue, these are not normal times. That’s exactly why Scott Morrison established the National Cabinet.

“Privatising key services is not in the national interest. The Prime Minister has to step in and tell the Premiers to stop it."