March 28, 2012

Government Refuses To Rule Out Privatising V/Line In Fire Sale

The Baillieu Government has failed to rule out selling off regional Victoria’s V/Line train service, Geoff Howard MP, State Member for Ballarat East, said today. 

In parliament this week, the State Labor Opposition asked Transport Minister Terry Mulder to categorically rule out the privatisation of V/Line after Premier Ted Baillieu indicated the Government may sell state assets. 

In reply, Mr Mulder refused to rule out the sale. 

“Mr Mulder’s failure to rule out selling off V/Line is extraordinary,” said Mr Howard during a visit to Ballan today with Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews MP and Shadow Transport Minister Fiona Richardson MP. 

“As rural and regional commuters will remember, the Liberals and Nationals have form when it comes to selling off assets. 

“The Baillieu Government is now contemplating a sale of Victoria’s assets that could include V/Line.

“Selling V/Line would be short sighted. 

“Regional and rural Victorians will be well aware of the impact privatisation had on services under the former Liberal National Government. 

“It seems Mr Mulder is not opposed to the idea of history repeating itself at the expense of rural and regional Victoria.” 

The Baillieu Liberal National Government was already failing to deliver the public transport services that rural and regional Victorians needed. 

“Mr Mulder’s failure to buy any additional V/Line carriages last year is already having a dramatic impact on daily V/Line services with many commuters standing in packed carriages on the Ballarat line, especially those getting on in Ballan of a morning,” Mr Howard said. 

“While commuters are forced to grapple with delays and cancellations the Liberal National Government has hiked up ticket prices, slugging rural and regional Victorians an additional 8.6 per cent for their tickets. 

“Just last week it was revealed that the Baillieu Liberal National Government had secretly axed 30 regional bus services and there seems to be no improvement in sight for V/Line commuters. 

“Having had a gutful of increased delays, cancellations and fare increases, V/Line commuters now face the prospect of a quick fire sale of their services.”