Another Four Years…

At the New South Wales state election last weekend, the Berejiklian-Barilaro Liberal Nation Coalition government was re-elected for a third term. They won with a reduced majority of 48 seats in the 93 seat parliament. At this time we do not know who will be the transport minister in this term in government, but it would be reasonable to believe that Andrew Constance will likely retain the position going forward.

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Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Andrew Constance – NewsCorp

As we outlined last week, there are a number of transport policies that were part of their election platform and will begin to be delivered throughout this term in government including;

  • Sydney Metro City and Southwest and Sydney Metro West projects fast tracked
  • Outer West North South Metro and extension to Sydney Metro West projects to connect to Western Sydney Airport from day one of airport operation
  • Northern Beaches and Second Harbour Tunnel
  • F6 Extension
  • 17 additional Waratah Series 2 trains to allow for additional new Sydney Trains services to Western Sydney
  • More Buses to deliver 14 000 extra weekly services over four years
  • $50 weekly cap on Public Transport Fares
  • Expansion of Transport Access Program
  • New Opalpay carparks at major stations

Obviously as this government has been reelected, they will be able to deliver some of their cornerstone projects from the past two terms including that are yet to be completed;

  • CBD and South East Light Rail
  • Sydney Metro Northwest
  • Westconnex M4 and M5 East tunnels
  • Northconnex

The government has promised to follow through on all of their promises, regardless of which party won in the corresponding seat. This means that seats that voted for Labor, the Greens, the Shooters or an Independent will still get their promised upgrades. The government has tried to make this evident in an attempt to keep voters onside. In particular, expect very marginal Labor seats such as the gains of Coogee and Lismore to receive everything that they were promised in the hope of winning them back next time round. But even in safe Labor or independent seats transport projects will still go ahead, as the government doesn’t wish to be seen as pork barreling in their safest seats.

Throughout this term of government there are many different things that we can expect. There will be very little change in the way the transport operates from last term, particularly given it will be the same government in power.

Lots of ribbon cutting should be an obvious thing that will ramp up this time round. Many of the flagship projects launched in the first term of the current government are now nearing completion and we can expect major coverage of their openings. The first one will be the Sydney Metro North West on May 5, which is the first state of the major rail expansion program under Sydney Metro branding and will be the first automated rail line to open in Australia. We will also see the opening of the Randwick branch of the CBD and South East light rail in December.

We will see more and more construction. As all of the new projects promised continue with their construction or begin in the next few months and years, we will see even more transport related construction sites. This will obviously cause some disruption but will in the longer term deliver better outcomes for these areas. Expect more Sydney Metro sites to go up in the CBD and Inner West, with road tunnels going under the North Shore and Inner South.

We can also expect more privatisation of our transport operations. We already know that the Epping-Chatswood and Sydenham-Bankstown rail lines are being privatised as part of the Sydney Metro upgrades in this term. It would be unsurprising if more State Transit bus service regions are sold off this term as it was a foundational change that was pushed by the government in the last term.

The Liberals will also likely continue their union bashing agenda that occurred throughout the last term. Here at Transport NSW Blog we are proud to support the union movement and particularly the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). The RTBU  has been attacked viciously by the Liberals constantly over the last eight years, due to their opposition to privatisation and pay freezes impletzemed by this governments. These attacks on unions need to stop, but it is foreseeable that they will continue given the ideological anti-union views of this government.

This is not the outcome we advocated for in our pre-election editorial last week, and we still don’t think this is the best outcome for transport in New South Wales. We can only hope that Constance gets moved on to another portfolio and a more competent minister takes his place. We also need to advocate for the end of the privatisation agenda and union bashing conduced by this government to ensure the best outcomes for transport in this term of government.

3 Replies to “Another Four Years…”

  1. “The RTBU has been attacked viciously by the Liberals constantly over the last eight years, due to their opposition to privatisation and pay freezes impletzemed by this governments. These attacks on unions need to stop, but it is foreseeable that they will continue given the ideological anti-union views of this government.”

    I’m not anti-union, but definitely anti RTBU – they have priced their members out of jobs, so it is no surprise the government wants driverless trains. Liberals are open about it, Labor like to hide their support – if you recall Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees were keen on driverless metros until the union thugs got them out with the support of the corrupt Obeid, Tripodi and Roosenthal.

    It doesn’t have to be about ideology – the democrats in San Francisco and the PAP party in Singapore, hardly the right of the spectrum, introduced the first fully driverless trains. If each train set needs 3 or 4 drivers to keep it going 18/7/365 that’s hundreds of drivers across the system, and guards too, each getting $130,000 a year – ridiculous.

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    1. Look, I get the RTBU hasn’t always been the best union and in the past has been associated with some pretty shady figures. Despite this, I don’t think this gives any government the right to so openly brag about union bashing like Constance has many a time, which is obvious done on an ideological level.

      The reality is that they have been fighting ( with the support of their members) for pay that is equivalent or better than what drivers are getting elsewhere. In particular their bus division has been under great attack by this government and I think whilst the actions taken by the union could be considered militant, they were certainties warranted given the circumstances.

      My issue has never been with automation (I’m all for it). I think the RTBU needs to realise that it is eventually going to happen and get over it! My issues is more with the whole use of the privatisation by this government in an attempt to get rid of the RTBU (they don’t represent private sector workers in NSW) and the pay freezes that workers have experienced that Constance for a time blamed on the union.

      I get where you are coming from and you bring up some very valid points and I hope my explaination clears up where I was coming from. I’m more than happy to discuss this further as well.

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