DPTI Update | All of Public Transport, Road Maintenance and Faciltiies Management in Private Hands | What Could Possibly go Wrong?

26 June 2020

Following a Government decision last week to privatise All Of Government Facilities Management (AGFM), the level of privatisation in the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) is now so high that it is in danger of fundamentally changing the role of the department from providing the public with high quality transport and infrastructure systems to managing private contracts. This will mean the community completely loses the history, skills and expertise of over 1,000 staff, including over 350 salaried positions, as members move from secure jobs to insecure work and poor working conditions or into a future of unemployment.

South Australians have paid their taxes over many years for the services Public Service Association (PSA) members provide which the Government is now handing over to private companies to make profit. This will result in poorer services, unsafe practices and increased costs.

The number of direct public sector jobs impacted from the privatisations in DPTI alone are:

  •  Public Transport (trams and trains)
  •  Road Maintenance
  •  Facilities Management

Losing such a large number of good quality jobs at a time of recession and high unemployment is bad for the community and very bad for the economy. In addition, there is an indirect job impact which is still too hard to calculate.

DPTI restructures
DPTI is attempting to portray the ongoing restructures as being unrelated to the privatisation agenda but evidence otherwise is now clear. This is demonstrated in the most recent proposed restructures in Road Asset Management Services and Technical Services.

The role of SAPTA (SA Public Transport Authority) is clearly being designed to support the private bus, tram and train companies. This is why there is currently only an interim structure with a final structure to be determined post the train privatisation.

The big corporations which are rumoured to be possible successful bidders for these tenders include the Downer Group, which already has one of the SA bus contracts. It is a global maintenance, construction, service and mining company which also owns 88% of Spotless (which has the contract for services in the Royal Adelaide Hospital). For our members, it is a difficult job to keep enormous, powerful global companies to contract obligations and safety standards, let alone ensure they meet the needs of the SA Community. Yet, when things go wrong (and they do), it will be our members who will have to pick up the pieces.

SA Not For Sale
The PSA continues to campaign against the privatisation of public services. Due to this campaign we have won the fight to stop the privatising of SA Pathology, stopped the closure of Service SA Centres and have a commitment from the SA Labor Party that if they are elected they will roll back the privatisation of trains and trams. The PSA works closely with other other unions whose members are affected. We know the community does not support privatisation of public services and urge all members to get involved.

Keeping members informed and protected
In addition to campaigning, the PSA continues to ensure members’ jobs and rights are protected. Over the next few weeks your Organiser and the PSA leadership will be visiting DPTI sites and organising virtual meetings to explain your rights and to hear your concerns.

The PSA has spoken directly with the DPTI Chief Executive, Tony Braxton-Smith, with the concern that the combination of a COVID-19 recession and the large number of privatisations, there will be limited opportunities for redeployment in Government for our members, especially for those with highly specialised and operations skills. Under the Enterprise Agreement there is a requirement for Agencies to do all they can to find staff alternate employment and this includes retraining.

Any individual member can contact the PSA directly by contacting the PSA Members’ Rights Hotline hotline@cpsu.asn.au or 8205 3227.