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Media Release – Another 11th hour announcement leaves workers in the dark

Despite promising consultation with workers and Hunter commuters before making any decision on whether or not to privatise the city’s entire public transport system, the Baird Government has moved ahead with sell off plans.

The union for public transport workers said the government had let down the region again as state transit employees found out about the decision when it was announced on radio.

RTBU Bus and Tram Division Secretary Chris Preston said that this was just another broken promise from the Liberal Government.

“Only four months ago Premier Baird stood here in Newcastle and said he would consult with locals before any decision was made to continue with privatisation – he broke that promise,” Mr Preston said.

“Instead of showing his face in Newcastle, the Premier is off taking selfies in Israel.

“Sending his Transport Minister to break the bad news is a disgusting and cowardly way to handle the situation and to tell people that their jobs are on the chopping block.”

Mr Preston said that despite the Minister meeting with the union regularly, this announcement was never mentioned.

“The union met with Minister Constance just last week. At no point did he say that the project was advancing, nor did he mention one word about this announcement,” Mr Preston said.

“The NSW Liberal Government ignored Newcastle City Council and their requests to review the proposed route of the light rail to make it more user friendly, they have ignored worker concerns about the future of jobs if the bus network is privatised, and they have not even consulted with the community to see if they want this transportation white elephant, yet they continue to claim that they are consulting.”

With Mike Baird appearing to steam ahead with his plan to privatise Newcastle public transport, the union will continue their fight.

“This is a grubby deal which will see Newcastle’s public transport services handed over to Mike Baird’s private sector mates,” Mr Preston said.

“They’ll take the profits but Newcastle commuters will pay the price.

“We’ll fight this decision every step of the way, and we’ll stand side by side with the people of Newcastle to save their public transport services from the Baird Government and their cronies.”