MEDIA RELEASE 21 October 1999

Lee Rhiannon MLC
The Greens
Parliament House
Sydney 2000

Parliamentary Speech Highlights Government's Bias to Private Bus Companies in Western Sydney

Greens NSW Upper House Member Lee Rhiannon MLC used her address in reply to the Governor's Speech to highlight the Government's failure to develop high quality public transport in western Sydney.

"Away from the few railway lines that serve this region, those who cannot afford to operate a car are left to the mercy of competing robber barons that run the private bus companies. Focussed solely on extracting massive profits from the region, those companies deliver poor standards of
service with little regard for the transport needs of the community," Ms Rhiannon said in Parliament on Tuesday evening.

The Greens member of Parliament was particularly critical of the current and previous Governments who have created these monopolies, effectively locking the public State Transit bus system out of western Sydney.

"The Passenger Transport Act grants each of those transport warlords a personal fiefdom over which they hold a complete bus monopoly, leaving the residents of western Sydney without effective protection for standards of service, time tabling or afford ability. Clearly that legislation urgently needs reform, yet reform is nowhere to be found in the Government's plans.

"Recently, private bus companies in metropolitan Sydney have been granted a 4.5 per cent increase in fares. That is almost twice the increase granted for State Transit in July," she said in Parliament.

Ms Rhiannon was particularly critical of the government's plans to build 90 kilometres of bus-only transit ways, saying "this is nothing more than a gold-plated gift to the Minister's mates.
Despite the glossy brochures and glib public relations exercises, transit ways will not create better transport for western Sydney."

"The solutions for western Sydney are straightforward: repeal the Passenger Transport Act, allow government buses to operate throughout the region, and build a comprehensive network of light rail lines and cycle ways."

John Kaye