The Australian Greens today warned Transport Minister Albanese off pursuing public private partnerships for major transport projects, pointing to a string of disasters from Sydney's airport rail link to Brisbane's airport link toll road (The Australian).
"While tackling congestion is critical, history shows government's have been left holding expensive lemons, draining the public purse and failing to deliver real solutions to transport gridlock," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Privatisation of public transport risks service quality, environmental protection and in some cases revenue streams for governments.
"Private operators are less accountable than government departments. Contracts are stamped ‘commercial in confidence' making them near impossible for the public to properly scrutinise.
"Hidden clauses designed to protect operator profits can rob the public of proper services. For example both Sydney's M2 and Cross City Tunnel projects required compensation for private operators if competing public transport impacted on profitability.
"Minister Albanese should be asking the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to recommend innovative ways to borrow funds for publicly financed and built public transport, not PPPs.
"Public transport infrastructure should be built for future generations and remain in public hands. Otherwise the profit motives of the private sector will always come up trumps," said Senator Rhiannon.