The state’s bus industry has accused the Queensland Government of trying to cut costs at the expense of public safety, by changing the way it awards bus contracts.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new open-tender process announced by the Government is unworkable and has been rejected by other states.
QBIC executive director David Tape has warned, “This is a cynical cost-cutting exercise that has come about through the Commission of Audit.”
“When costs are slashed something is compromised, and in this case it will be services, maintenance or safety.”
He said the move has also placed the entire industry in limbo, as no bus company in South East Queensland has the certainty of being in business after October 2015.
“We can’t guarantee jobs so drivers are leaving; operators are doing basic replacement and essential spending only and no one will buy a company that only has a year of life guaranteed.
“The open tender decision has wiped hundreds of millions of dollars in goodwill off the value of Queensland bus companies that was built over decades, and will cost local jobs.”
Mr Tape said the industry has no issue with the Government’s aim of ‘contestability’, but believes this can be achieved through direct negotiations.
“The irony is that the Government already regulates the industry to the point that they know every operator’s profits, so all they need to do is set the profit margin and they have the most economical service,” he explained.
He said the State Government refuses to directly provide details of the process or answer the industry’s questions.
“We’ve had rhetoric and spin but no answers, no certainty and no solutions.”
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