As the Gawler electrification project finally comes online today, the future of train operator Keolis Downer and hundreds of jobs still hang in the balance with the Malinauskas Labor Government promising South Australians it would rip up the contract if elected.
Two days before the March election, then Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan slammed Keolis Downer for delivering a “lesser quality service” and declared “we don’t accept that there are costs” in cancelling the 12-year $2.1 billion contract.
But new Department for Infrastructure and Transport information provided to the Opposition suggests $70 million could be the contract exit fee if the Keolis Downer deal was terminated before June 2023. Treasury advised in February the cost would be at least $40 million.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said Peter Malinauskas has been vowing for years to “return public transport into public hands”.
“The Labor Party assured South Australians cancelling the Keolis Downer contract won’t cost a cent, but all other evidence suggests otherwise,” Mr Tarzia said.
“Treasury gave advice months ago that it will cost taxpayers a minimum of $40 million to tear up the contract with Keolis Downer.
“Labor has the power right now to review the contract. They could find out in a matter of seconds if it will cost millions to break the Keolis Downer deal.
“That’s why it makes no sense for Peter Malinauskas to pour $1 million down the drain for a Commission of Inquiry to find out information he already has access to.
“And does Labor admit until the contract is cancelled the people of the north riding on the Gawler line are using a ‘lesser quality service’?”
Labor’s anti-privatisation stance is hypocrisy at its finest after they outsourced Forestry SA, the Motor Accident Commission, SA Lotteries and shamelessly investigated the privatisation of SA Water.
Now the Government has outsourced a ‘Physical Security Services Review’ for public transport.