Newcastle workers vow to protect public transport
While Premier Mike Baird was lunching at the $175 a head Property Council event, hundreds of workers gathered across the road to protest the NSW Government’s move to privatise Newcastle’s buses, ferries and light rail.
The Premier did come in fact bow to the pressure and come over to address the crowd at one stage, apologising for not consulting with workers about the decision and promising that the sale will not go ahead unless it can be proven that it will improve public transport in the region.
The RTBU’s National Secretary, Bob Nanva, told the community rally to keep pressuring the Baird Government to change its decision and to keep bus and ferry services in public hands.
“Newcastle’s public transport system – and the Newcastle community – are being sold down the river in a grubby deal by a grubby Government,” he said.
“You’d think that all after all the revelations in ICAC about the Liberal Party’s grubby relationship with property developers and big business, especially here in the Hunter, that Mike Baird might at least try to ease back on the cozy deals for a while.
“In fact, you’d think a Government with even a skerrick of respect for the community, and the most basic sense of decency and integrity, would stop making cozy deals altogether.
“But this Premier is so shameless that’s he’s not only bowed to the wishes of the property developers and the lobbyists to cut Newcastle rail line in half, he’s even promised to hand over the keys to the ferries and the bus services so his mates in big business can screw the community even more.”
He said the privatisation of local public transport services would see good, hard working people lose their jobs
“The lucky ones who get to keep working for the new company will undoubtedly see their pay and conditions slashed.
“And the people of Newcastle will have to make do with less regular services that meet the needs of the operators rather than the needs of the community.”
“We’re going to fight this one all the way.”
See some images from the rally below