Market Sectors, Passenger Rail

SA protests against rail privatisation

Protests against the privatisation of the South Australian train and tram services erupted in front of the state’s parliament house this weekend.

Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of parliament on Sunday to oppose the government’s privatisation plans, which were announced in July.

The government says that it will still own rail assets, including trains, trams, tracks, stations, and control fare prices. Transport Minister Stephen Knoll explained, when the privatisation was announced, that the public transport network was underperforming.

According to Knoll, the network has one of the lowest patronage levels in the country and the new model will deliver a better service and guaranteed frequency, thus encouraging better patronage.

“We will be able to deliver more efficient services so we can reinvest back into the network to provide better services,” Knoll said.

Before last year’s state election, the now-Premier Steven Marshall said that there was no “privatisation agenda” and its public transport policy did not mention privatisation.

Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas spoke to the crowd on the weekend, promising to reverse the privatisation should his party be elected in 2022.