Tender pleas rejected

The NSW Government has refused to change its decision to tender bus contracts

Tender pleas rejected
Tender pleas rejected

By Sean Muir | May 31, 2012

The New South Wales Government has refused to budge on its shock decision to tender metropolitan bus contracts, despite desperate pleas from the state's bus association.

BusNSW has been engaged in high-profile talks with Transport Minister Berejiklian since the government’s decision early this month to tender and not negotiate future contracts.

But BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish yesterday told Australasian Bus and Coach Magazine the association had so far failed to convince the Minister that the policy backflip was not in the public’s interest.

"This was despite BusNSW strongly arguing that not only is there no evidence to suggest she will achieve a better outcome, but that all evidence points to a more expensive outcome with reduced service standards through tendering," Mellish says.

"BusNSW representatives also explained the potentially devastating finance, leasing, equipment and staffing consequences of the policy change at such short notice."

Mellish says he is adamant the policy shift will not achieve the customer outcomes and efficiency objectives the government seeks.

He says BusNSW members are also concerned about unforeseen consequences for operators and

"A meeting of operators confirmed their concern and dismay at the change in policy and the way it had been conveyed to them by the government," Mellish says.

"There is low confidence from the operator meetings and the industry engagement workshops that Transport for NSW know how to effectively run and evaluate such tenders."

Mellish says under the new policy, the NSW Government will tender eight privately operated metropolitan bus regions, but not the State Transit Authority (STA), operator of inner Sydney’s government buses.

"The other bewildering hypocrisy is the government’s decision not to subject STA to competition, yet this is what has been done with the Sydney Ferries, and the STA reform is where big savings would come from," Mellish says.

"BusNSW estimates that a saving of about $3 per kilometre or $250 million per year can be achieved for tax payers if STA was operated by the private sector."

Mellish says BusNSW will continue to pursue all legal and other means available to challenge the decision.

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