Ready, steady, talk


After Barry O’Farrell’s landslide win in NSW at the weekend, BusNSW is primed and ready to talk with the new hierarchy, brimming with fresh ideas

Ready, steady, talk
Ready, steady, talk

By David Goeldner | March 28, 2011

BusNSW is ready to meet with Barry O’Farrell’s senior transport and roads ministers with a raft of proposals relating to privately run public transport services in the state.

"We are keen to meet with the new transport minister – who we think will be Gladys Berejiklian – to give her some suggestive ways forward," BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says.

He says BusNSW looked forward to a fresh approach from the new government, particularly on the way contracts are negotiated and bus priority projects allocated.

BusNSW will also press their case that the private bus industry is in a good position to show value for money and expand services.

And the association’s support for an integrated transport authority may now see the light of day with the Coalition coming to power in NSW.

"I think the idea of having a coordinated approach to infrastructure, planning and service delivery does make sense," Mellish says.

"If you take the political decisions out of the allocation of services I think the public interest is served better by that approach."

He says the Coalition’s pre-election policy statements about the proposed integrated authority sits well with the bus industry.

Mellish also believes the bus industry has much to gain from having Berejiklian as transport minister given her high profile and seniority in the new O’Farrell government.

"I think it’s a very good that someone senior in the Premier’s management team will take on transport," Mellish says.

"She has been a very strong advocate of improving public transport and our contact with her has been positive."

He says the transport portfolio requires the incumbent to have senior status and a strong personality, and needs close coordination with the roads portfolio, expected to go to NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner.

"It will be interesting to see with the integrated authority how they manage each of those dual portfolios where presumably Andrew Stoner will be the Roads Minister," Mellish says.

"We have met with both of them – Berejiklian and Stoner – and they were very positive about the benefits of private industry operating public transport," says Mellish.

"They have supported our view about asset ownership and the benefits of performance-based contracts, so having someone senior like Gladys in that role we think is very important for the next four to five years."

The bus industry looks set to be among the first to have access to the new transport minister, invited to deliver the key note address at the upcoming BusNSW annual conference at Terrigal on 16 April.

"We are using our Terrigal Conference and the keynote address for the government to issue its position for the next decade," Mellish says.

"We are expecting the minister to give a post-election report on 16 April and I think that will be very important."

BusNSW has structured the conference program to include integrated network plans, growth, and key issues of financing bus procurement.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook