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Media Release – Liberals should come clean with plans to sack drivers and privatise Sydney Trains

Today’s article ‘Sydney Trains drivers are off the rails with inefficiency’ Daily Telegraph 21 July is clearly the opening barrage of a Baird Government attack aimed at sacking drivers and privatising Sydney Trains.

Former Liberal Government staffer Brendan Lyon of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, who is heavily quoted in the article, has clearly been dispatched to demonise Sydney Trains drivers in order to facilitate the Baird Government’s wishes to move to driver-less trains and remove guards from the New Inter-Urban Fleet.

As Mr Lyon confirms in his comments, once this occurs the Government can then move on privatising Sydney Trains by “allowing private companies to compete for the management” of the rail network.

“Similar private involvement had improved the service of Sydney Ferries,” he said.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has long held the view that Sydney passenger rail services should be privatised.

Its 2012 Report ‘Franchising Passenger Rail Services in NSW: Options for Reform’ recommended that ‘open access arrangements be adopted, with different operators competing on the same network’ or that ‘a private operator granted an exclusive franchise to operate all services on a network’.

However Mr Lyon minces his words, with all roads leading to privatisation.

“If Mike Baird and the Liberals want to sack drivers and privatise Sydney Trains they should just come clean and say it, Mr Claassens, Rail Tram and Bus Union NSW Secretary said.

“Sydney’s passenger train drivers do important work. Each day they do what they do best and help over 1 million commuters get to work, school and home again safely.

“Our train drivers are highly skilled and experienced, and with up to 1,000 lives in their hands on every train, they need to be.

“Sydney Trains have a strong safety record and the best ‘on-time’ running record in the country due in large part to the professionalism and dedication of Sydney Train drivers.

“Sydney train drivers don’t need a lecture on ‘hard work’ from Liberal lobbyists like Mr Lyon earning half a million dollars per year.”