Goldfields to lose public transport?

June 11, 2003 - Dee Margetts MLC, Greens (WA) spokesperson for Business and Robin Chapple MLC, Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region are concerned that a regional bus service in the Goldfields could disappear in coming months if the WA Government is successful in its attempts to pass the Acts Amendment and Repeal (Competition Policy) Bill 2002.

The bus service is provided by the state owned Eastern Goldfields Transport Board for schoolchildren, mining workers and local residents in Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Kambalda and Coolgardie.

The Acts Amendment and Repeal Bill, which has been introduced to repeal or amend numerous laws 'in accordance with recommendations of National Competition Policy' , will amend the Eastern Goldfields Transport Board Act 1984 so that it will be 'subject to the same laws as private competitors' .

Although the WA Treasury has already determined that the Eastern Goldfields Transport Board wouldn't 'confer any significant advantage over potential competitors' , the State Government is intent on amending this act in order to receive the next National Competition Policy payment from the Federal Government.

'Why is the WA Government removing an arrangement that exists in the interest of the general public? When Treasury applied its public interest assessment to this Act, it recommended that this 'restriction to competition' should be retained. Why on earth is the Government ignoring its own Treasury and acceding to the demands of the National Competition Council?', Ms Margetts asked.

'I'm extremely concerned that these bus services might be deemed uneconomical by the private sector. It could mean the death knell for these services for residents in Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Kambalda and Coolgardie', Mr. Chapple concluded.

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