Today I wanted to send out a big Thank You to Gladys Berejiklian.
For those of you who don’t know her, Gladys is the NSW Transport Minister and is widely considered to be one of the Liberal Party’s strongest members in the NSW Coalition Government.
The reason for my wanting to thank Gladys is for showing us how the Coalition fix things, that way we will know what to expect if we vote in an Abbott Government that says they are going to fix things.
Gladys has been kind enough to fix up the safety on Sydneys public transport system, here’s how she did it.
Gladys decided that having the dedicated transit officers was not good enough for public safety, and thought that putting real police on our trains and ferries would have a rapid impact on commuter safety.
Commuters safety has been drastically compromised because the number of police patrolling transport is approximately half of the governments own targets for next year. The targets for next year are for 610 officers, according to a 7 News report the current number is 317.
The sceptical among you may think that Gladys and the Coalitions decision to sack an entire workforce of transit officers and replace them by giving existing police more responsibility was a case of O’Farrell wielding his axe and cutting costs at the expense of ordinary citizens, but no… less is more when it comes to passenger security apparently.
I don’t know what would make Gladys seriously think that asking police to put their hands up for the role of patrolling transport was going to work. Cops don’t join the force to ride on trains all day and night or stand on empty platforms. Cops want to chase bad guys, solve crimes, bust drug dealers and something that gives them a sense of serving the public, and if it involves a bit of an adrenalin rush, great. What they don’t want to do is ask kids if they have a ticket or ask teenagers to take their feet off the seat.
The result of all this is that no cops seem to want to fill the role, in fact internal adverts for the role within the police force for the southern region in June had not one response. This has meant officers are being seconded to transport patrol, taking them off the streets and the beat while violent drunks terrorise the city streets after being evicted from pubs and clubs each Friday and Saturday night. Taking them off patrol and response teams while motorcycle gangs turn our suburban streets into shooting galleries, as the search continues for missing Police Minister Michael Gallacher.
You will be pleased to know it’s not just the rail that Gladys has “fixed”, she has done a knock up job of fixing Sydneys ferry services as well.
The Sydney ferry service was in disarray according to the Coalition and Transport Minister Gladys was coming to the rescue and promised to fix it.
Fixing it apparently meant privatising it. What a surprise.
Once again, just because the Coalition flogged Sydney Ferries off and took a pile of cash to help them achieve yet another budget deficit, don’t go thinking this was a cash grab, certainly not…. This was about fixing the ferries and improving service.
So, let’s see how Gladys and the Coalition went with their “fix”.
In the year since the selling off of our public asset, there have been some startling changes:
• A 50 per cent increase in service cancellations that aren’t due to bad weather or fog;
• Customer complaints have risen by 27%
• Five collisions and groundings this year, versus zero the previous year
• Not a single ferry service is meeting the on time running target. Not One
To pay for these “fixes” commuters are being charged more for their ride (if it shows up), despite both Berejiklian and O’Farrell assuring us fares wouldn’t rise after privatisation. In fact fares have skyrocketed and are due to rise again shortly.
Those who commute from the Inner West are being asked to cough up an extra $416 per year in fares, and for those living out West where they have O’Farrell himself as Minister, fares from Parramatta and Rydalmere have shot up a whopping $884 per year.
Funnily enough those travelling from Tony Abbotts electorate, on one of the busiest ferry routes, the Manly Circular Quay route are also being asked to shell out an extra $884 per year.
So how do the Coalition look after the Federal Leaders constituents you may ask, well read it and weep…
• 13,980 fewer passengers catching the ferry in the first year of the privatised service;
• A cut of 176 ferry services;
• 36 per cent increase in ferry delays; and
• Service cancellations are up 50 per cent.
If that’s how they look after Tony Abbotts voters, what chance do we have?
With results of what the Coalition call “fixes” like that, it is no wonder that Shadow Minister Penny Sharpe is jumping up and down.
Penny has let fly at the government in recent days stating;
“One year into the privatisation of Sydney’s ferries, passengers are paying higher fares for increases in cancellations, customer complaints, collisions and groundings,”
“The O’Farrell Government signed an $800 million contract with the new operators to privatise our iconic ferries, but it is delivering poorer services for commuters and visitors to our city alike.”
Ms Sharpe also raised another interesting point when she said;
“Commuters have every right to be worried about this Government’s other plans to sell off parts of our public transport network.”
A valid point indeed with talk of all kinds of areas under threat of possible privatisation, such as the CountryLink rail service.
Even transport that doesn’t even exist yet is under threat under a Coalition government.
The North West Rail link was to be a two storey publicly owned underground rail service that took commuters from Sydneys North West to the city.
Now it is going to be a single story privately owned shuttle service to the already overcrowded North Shore Line. Under Gladys’s watchful eye we have seen the costs blow out, the capacity almost halved, a completely different gauge of rail being used so it can never be incorporated into the existing rail network, a few kilometres a “SkyTrain” already being referred to as the “graffiti wall”, and a tunnel bored so small to make future expansion impossible without shutting down the whole service for years.
In addition to this we will have to see the existing Epping to Chatswood line downgraded to suit, and it also means the Parramatta to Epping line can never be built.
All this for a service that is slower than the current bus service and will dump people at Chatswood where they will have to hope to board an already overcrowded train.
Gladys Berejiklian has been touted many times as one of the best performing Ministers in O’Farrells team. It must be hard to shine and stand out amongst such a fine team of Ministers.
For starters there is the publicly masturbating Arts Minister George Souris, then there’s Environment Minister Robyn Parker who thinks logging is good for Koala’s, that makes her pretty special in my books. Health Minister Jillian Skinner whose office is evacuated at the threat of a few nurses delivering her a cake. Education Minister Adrian Piccoli a man who publicly signs a pledge to maintain TAFE funding in his campaign and then slashes TAFE services as part of the Coalitions $1.8 Billion Education cuts which cost 800 TAFE workers their job. The previously mentioned Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher, whom I believe is the first Minister in Australia to ever have his Party actually booed out of Parliament by a gallery full of police, quite an achievement indeed . Gallacher also made the decision to close Fire Stations around the state during a heat wave and spate of bushfires, forcing communities to rely on volunteer services and fire services from other area’s which were left unprotected. The Attorney General Greg Smith who insults the victims of paedophiles and supports priests charged with sexually assaulting multiple young children, then puts forward legislation, now passed, so that most victims of these paedophile priests will never be compensated. Minister For Community services Pru Goward who has overseen what many have described as a public housing crisis and has brought about such chaos in the Department Of Community Services that child welfare is at arguably its lowest point ever and there has been talk of Federal intervention being required. Not to mention the Treasurer Mike Baird who has a 100% success rate for delivering budget deficits after inheriting a surplus, and famous for losing a Billion dollars, quite the financial conservative.
It is certainly more than enough to drive one to drink, which of course is exactly what Finance Minister Greg “Pearced as a parrot” Pearce did.
So far I would go so far as to say that Berejiklian has the “Sadim Touch”. For those who are unaware of the term it is the opposite to the” Midas Touch”, which is basically to say that everything she touches seems to turn to crap.
All I can say is if this is how the Coalition go about fixing things, we will be in dire need of a renovation rescue after one term of an Abbott government should he win.
If it comes to that, I reckon New Zealand is looking good….