Bus services across Queensland could be slashed and safety standards compromised if the Newman Government proceeds with plans to implement an open tender process for bus routes next year, according to the industry’s peak body.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new process, which has been rejected by other states, could also result in the closure of established Queensland companies and widespread job losses.
QBIC executive director David Tape called the move a “cynical cost-cutting exercise”. “The Government has not publicised their plans and has even refused to be open with the industry about their motives.
“They are clearly attempting to hide what they know will be huge ramifications for bus services, safety standards and jobs across Queensland.”
He said Queensland companies could be destroyed overnight, replaced with companies from anywhere.
“Many of these operators are family companies that have been servicing their local areas and investing into local communities for decades.”
In the past, bus routes have been awarded by direct negotiations, a process that ensures a high standard of service.
“Our industry is regulated, and the Government knows every operator’s profits. They already have the power to set the profit margin.”
Instead, every route will be subject to a process that will see companies fighting to save every cent possible, in order to obtain the cheapest tender.
“When costs are slashed something is compromised – whether that be services, maintenance, safety or employees wages and conditions.”
“Even now, operators are not spending. Why would they when they might be out of business next year?”
“It’s a mess we do not have to have, with no good outcome.” The QBIC has called on the Government to immediately change the process.
“The lives of bus customers and school children, and the future of Queensland companies, are more important than trying to save a few dollars.”
Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608