Labor’s hypocrisy as Peter Malinauskas backs in Keolis Downer to run extended bus network

Friday 19 January, 2024

Peter Malinauskas has backflipped on Labor’s criticism of Keolis Downer’s ability to run the public transport network in South Australia by awarding the private operator a new eight-year contract for regional bus services

Keolis Downer subsidiary LinkSA will now operate bus services in the Barossa, Fleurieu Peninsula, Northern Adelaide Hills and expand into Mount Gambier, locking in a new deal with Labor until 2035 – a blatant privatisation deal.

It is unclear how much the new Labor contract is worth.

In the lead up to the 2022 State Election, Peter Malinauskas’ Labor Party waged war on Keolis Downer, slamming the private company for its supposed inability to operate the public train system.

Labor promised to tear up the Keolis Downer contract, but instead varied the terms and conditions of the deal in a sneaky move to avoid a huge $94 million termination fee.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, described Labor’s new Keolis Downer deal as “hypocrisy at its finest”.

“On one hand Peter Malinauskas promised South Australians that Keolis Downer would be given the boot and stopped from operating the public train network for supposed poor performance,” Mr Tarzia said.

“But then on the other, Labor has just signed a new eight-year deal with Keolis Downer to run regional bus services.

“If Keolis Downer is good enough to run regional bus services, why aren’t they good enough to run our train network? This makes no sense.

“Let’s not forget Peter Malinauskas and Labor always criticised Keolis Downer’s performance and ability to run our trains but are now happy to let them take control of regional bus services for eight years.

“We welcome more public transport options for people in our regions but it’s not clear why Labor is confident Keolis Downer can run bus services but not trains?”