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Train sell-off likely

Wednesday, 21st March, 2012

By Gayle Hogan 

The State Government would not sell CountryLink to a private operator without a guarantee that the current service would be maintained, according to local MP John Williams.

Shadow Minister for Transport, Penny Sharpe, said two million people who rely on CountryLink trains and buses will face higher ticket prices and cuts to services under privatisation.

Mr Williams, the Nationals Member for Murray-Darling, said he would oppose any cuts to the service.

“We’re certainly not going to stand by and see that be handed over to private enterprise without guarantees,” he said.

“We’ll find a way of ensuring no services are removed.”

Mr Williams said CountryLink was important to people in the far west.

“Obviously if there’s any threat to our services we’re certainly not planning to sell it off.”

But Ms Sharpe said the Government was preparing to sell CountryLink to a private operator by splitting it from RailCorp management.

Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Affairs, Mick Veitch, said the National Party was doing nothing to stop the plan. 

“The National Party should immediately rule out any support for the privatisation of CountryLink,” he said.

Only last month the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, met Mayor Wincen Cuy in Broken Hill and assured him that CountryLink was safe.

“The Mayor certainly emphasised to me in no uncertain terms the importance of CountryLink to the community,” Mr Gay said at the time.

“It is a message that I will take back to my colleague, Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, but I was pleased to inform the Mayor that there is no plan to remove this CountryLink service.”

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