A number of NSW TrainLink Services have been cancelled, leaving essential workers stranded after a fortnight of chaos at the Central Station Staff Testing Hub. Around 260 NSW TrainLink staff were advised that a COVID-19 tester at Central Station had tested positive for COVID-19.
Staff have been advised that this exposure occurred over a nine-day period from 4-13 August 2021. It comes on the back of another transport related exposure where 560 Sydney bus workers were forced into isolation late last week.
Messages relating to the cancellation of the regional train services were tweeted at 10am, but no announcement was made by the Premier at the 11am daily covid briefing.
NSW Labor says the latest exposures threaten the viability of public transport services across the entire state and are a direct failure of the NSW Government to properly prioritise transport workers.
Shadow Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said Labor had written to the Transport Minister last month calling for rapid antigen testing, vaccine leave and priority COVID-19 vaccines for workers.
“The NSW Government has failed to prioritise essential transport workers for vaccination, failed to give every worker paid vaccination leave, and failed to provide rapid testing and vaccination hubs at their workplaces,” Ms Haylen said.
“It is not good enough for our public transport system to come to a halt because transport workers are doing the right thing and isolating – they should have been protected”.
"As these numbers grow it is becoming very clear that Andrew Constance has no plan to keep these important workers and their families protected and indeed the essential workers that they are moving around our city and our state. He just cannot be relied on.”
Shadow Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said regional commuters included essential workers who depend on NSW TrainLink to get to work.
“Minister Toole needs to tell the public if he has a plan to protect our regions and transport workers from the spread of the delta variant and how he will guarantee vital public transport services in the regions during the outbreak. He needs to do this now.
“Minister Toole needs to be clear with the public about how many drivers and transport workers are isolating and what the ongoing impact will be for services in regions.
“What does this mean for rail workers, their families and their colleagues? How will this affect the delivery of vital transport services across Sydney and in regional areas of the State?
“There are nurses, health workers and other essential workers who rely on public transport services to get to our hospitals and our testing clinics every day so they can protect the public. Does Andrew Constance have a plan to deliver these services if the outbreak gets worse and more drivers are effected?
“How will he keep our drivers safe? Is he thinking about alternatives if he has to shut down the network so drivers can safely isolate and get tested to protect their families and the public?
“The Government should advice whether any of the staff who have been impacted were on customer facing roles, and what if any risk there may be to people who have used these services since 4 August”.
“Transport workers are our pandemic heroes. They do essential work every day to keep our city moving and the NSW Government must do everything it can to keep them and their families healthy and safe,” Ms Aitchison said.