The failure of Queensland airline Skytrans will be repeated “a hundredfold” in the bus industry across the state if the Newman Government doesn’t immediately reverse its decision to put bus contracts to open tender.
This is the prediction from the state’s peak industry body, the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) who says the State Government has failed Queensland companies through a “cost-cutting obsession that is counter-productive.”
QBIC executive director David Tape said small and medium size companies – many family businesses – are living in fear that they will be replaced by out of state bus companies who can afford to initially run at a loss to meet the State Government’s new tender process.
“Until now, the State Government has renewed bus contracts by direct negotiation, as they know the profit margins and have the power to set them,” Mr Tape revealed.
“But suddenly, and without giving us specific details, they have announced that any company anywhere, with no investment in the region, can win a bus contract in 2015 by simply slashing prices.”
Mr Tape said a single bus costs around $400K and local operators have invested in other infrastructure and employment in order to service bus routes according to the Government’s guidelines.
“Now they tell us they don’t care about our investment and they are happy to allow an out of state company with a willingness to run at a loss to take over the contract, while the local company goes out of business.”
He said engagement with the industry by the Government has been severely lacking. “Open and transparent communication from Government has not been forthcoming to date.
“They are treating Queensland companies with contempt and hoping we stay silent before the election because post-election, many Queensland bus companies may not even exist.
“Well, we are not staying silent, and are asking for a pre-election commitment that the Government will change course.”
Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608