Transport Minister Andrew Constance today refused to confirm or deny that he has already cut a secret deal to privatise buses in the inner West and southern Sydney.
Today in Parliament Mr Constance was asked by the NSW Labor Opposition to confirm that Transit Systems will operate Region 6 and why he has kept the decision from the public.
Characteristically Mr Constance failed to directly answer the question, only saying that he had not yet “signed” the contract.
Labor has been holding the Liberal Government to account over its policy to privatise buses since the news of privatisation plans leaked in May 2017. The decision to privatise broke an election commitment made by the Liberals in the 2015 campaign.
In preparation for the sale, the State Government has already cut bus routes in the area. Region 6 covers 233 bus routes and services the Inner West to Strathfield and Olympic Park and down through southern Sydney.
Labor also fears a new operator could cut costs, meaning a loss of jobs for drivers and maintenance staff.
The Liberals have already sold off the Hunter’s ferry, light rail and bus services, leading to chaos for commuters in Newcastle.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay
“This is Andrew Constance’s dirty little secret. The last thing he wants is for the public to know that he has already done the deal to sell public transport from under their noses.
“The community has a right to know if he and the Premier have secretly flogged off our buses.
“Andrew Constance and Gladys Berejiklian will not rest until every carriage and wheel of our public transport system is out of public hands.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
“The Minister is already in damage control this week and knows the secret sell-off of our buses is toxic in the community.
"It's been debacle after debacle with this Minister, and the sell off of inner west buses is the biggest debacle of all.
"He's refused to listen to the community at every turn and unfortunately, if rumours are true and he has pushed ahead with the sale, it'll be inner west passengers left to pick up the pieces."
Quotes attributable to Member for Canterbury Sophie Cotsis
“My community is completely united against the privatisation of bus services in their area.
“They want their buses to remain in public hands; they don’t want a second rate service.
“This is a direct attack on commuters and hard-working bus drivers with fears of higher bus charges and changes to bus routes. Minister Constance has already cut more than 35 bus routes.”