Public Ownership of Public Transport | Samantha Dunn

Public Ownership of Public Transport

Today I will be talking about the ownership of public transport in Melbourne...
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 11:15am
Samantha Dunn

Ms DUNN (Eastern Metropolitan) — Today I will be talking about the ownership of public transport in Melbourne. We have experimented with privatised public transport in this state for over 17 years, and it is failing. Taxpayers are shelling out billions to pay for the operation of these services, yet customers have suffered with slower, less frequent, disconnected and cancelled services. The rolling stock and infrastructure have been run on minimal maintenance. The less money spent on repairs, staffing and new equipment, the more profit made. The performance targets have been simplistic and have not sufficiently focussed on the quality of the experience. Concessionaires have figured out devious ways to avoid negative ratings, such as unplanned expresses. The franchises have been run to bring massive profits to their owners while barely achieving the slackest of standards.

These state funds would have been better spent reclaiming these concessions once they expired and investing in network infrastructure. The Metro Trains Melbourne concession is run by the MTR Corporation, which developed and runs the Hong Kong transit system. MTR is majority owned by the government of Hong Kong. If public ownership is good enough for Hong Kong, why is not good enough for Melbourne?

The Andrews government has unnecessarily narrowed its options by going straight into closed-door negotiations to extend the franchise agreements for Melbourne's train and tram networks. The Victorian Greens support the call by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union to return public transport to public ownership. Melbourne's public transport system must be run by the Victorian government on behalf of the Victorian people for the benefit of all Victorians.