There was great fanfare from the Kennett Government concerning the enormous savings from privatising the metropolitan public transport system in Victoria. However it was difficult to ascertain the real savings due to the mandatory infrastructure investment requirements imposed on the private operators as well.
Now these operators may want to cut their losses and run, claiming the returns are insufficient to sustain their operations. The Bracks Government may be contemplating re-tendering the arrangement, perhaps even consolidating the current four operations into one or two.
Further, while mandatory investment in new trains and trams was part of the original deal, it was not stipulated that the new equipment be locally produced. So we are to be the lucky recipients of replacement trains and trams from various parts of Europe.
It is pleasing to see the Bracks Government has had the foresight to increase the extent of our country infrastructure with the recent Victorian fast train project. Further, it is good they will be requiring the new trains to be locally produced.
Unfortunately, as a country we spend billions to promote exports but practically nothing to stop unnecessary imports.
Purchasing by the three levels of government constitutes more than 10% of the total purchases within our economy. Government should be prepared to support Australian enterprise where that support is justifiable (and at the same time stimulate our industry and employment).
The Society for Australian Industry and Employment,
East Malvern, Vic