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Parliament calls on Transport Minister to apologise for ‘bludgers’ comments

Nov 15, 2012News

The NSW Greens have given notice of a motion on the NSW Legislative Council which calls on the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian to apologise for recently describing Railcorp workers as ‘bludgers’.

The Minister made the offensive and entirely untrue comment in response to an ‘internal audit’ which found the 1000 employees were being paid but not actually doing their designated job.

At the time the comments were made, Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden immediately called on the Minister to apologise to the workforce.

“The Minister’s comments were a disgraceful attempt to shift the blame for the government’s mismanagement of the rail system onto its workforce,” Bob Hayden said.

“It shows the Minister has a complete misunderstanding of the workforce. The ‘audit’ didn’t account for staff that have been legitimately redeployed to cover vacant positions or employees on workers compensation recovering from accidents at work.”

Greens MP and transport spokesperson, Cate Faehrmann said in a statement that:

“The Minister’s comments are an attempt to distract from the government’s own failings in the Transport portfolio. The problems with our transport system aren’t caused by workers who have been injured, they’re caused by governments who fail to invest.

“Railcorp staff work in extremely difficult conditions at all hours. It’s no surprise that like all other workers, they too are not immune to accidents and injury.

“As the government moves ahead with a $13 billion motorway instead of overdue rail infrastructure, it’s disgraceful that the Minister has tried to blame Railcorp workers.

“It’s a sad day when a Transport Minister tries to hide behind the workers who serve her department and commuters. I’m calling on the Minister to apologise and to take responsibility instead of passing the buck.