The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has raised serious safety concerns about the South Australian Government’s botched privatisation of passenger rail services.
Transport Minister Corey Wingard has admitted to a huge shortfall in staffing at the new rail operator, but insists that State Government will not relax its privatisation timetable.
RTBU SA/NT Secretary Darren Phillips said crucial training programs for rail safety workers (including Passenger Service Assistants) will be shortened in order to rush new employees onto the network.
“The dogmatic approach by the Minister his 31 January privatisation deadline is a safety concern for all South Australians,” Mr Phillips said.
“We are seeing training programs slashed due to the Minister Wingard’s unrealistic timeframes.
“The RTBU raised these concerns directly with Minister Wingard last week - but apparently he thinks there is ‘nothing to see here’.
“Rail safety is too important to be taken for granted. We are extremely worried that the Miniser is putting an arbitrary political deadline before the safety of South Australian commuters.”
Mr Phillips said the privatisation of rail services would lead to a reduction of 132 jobs on the rail network, affecting local workers, their families and their communities.
“There will be less jobs in South Australia because of privatisation, which flies in the face of what the Marshall Liberal Government is spruiking to South Australians.
“The privatisation of rail services has been a complete shambles from the start.
“Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas is right - the best thing to do now would be to scrap privatisation and keep rail services in public hands.”