NSW transport problems ‘won’t go away’: Minister

A retiring minister has disputed that Labor can do any better in running Sydney's public transport.

A retiring minister has disputed that Labor can do any better in running Sydney's public transport. Photo: Getty

A week after Sydney trains were brought to a standstill, the outgoing NSW transport minister says maintenance problems won’t go away no matter which party forms the next government.

Just 10 days before NSW voters go to the polls, retiring Transport Minister David Elliott and his Labor counterpart Jo Haylen have sparred over the problem-plagued portfolio in a live debate on Sydney radio 2GB.

When asked about last week’s communication breakdown that shut down Sydney’s trains in the afternoon peak, Mr Elliott said it was “what happens when you run a multi-billion dollar organisation”.

“These problems won’t go away,” he said on Wednesday.

“If you think people aren’t going to be left on platforms under a Minns’ (Labor) government you’re drinking the Kool-Aid,” he said.

The hot button issue of the spiralling cost of tolls on Sydney’s motorways was also contested.

The government released figures on Wednesday saying Labor’s promise to impose a $60 weekly cap per week for Sydney drivers will blow a $338m black hole in the budget.

Labor says the policy will cost $147m over two years but the government says it will cost will cost at least $485m.

Ms Haylen defended the policy, saying some families were paying as much as $5000 a year in tolls and insisted every Labor promise had been costed by the parliamentary budget office.

Mr Elliott defended the toll roads saying it was “the cost of living, the cost of doing business”.

“Would we prefer to have free public transport, free roads everywhere – yes,” he said.

“But this is Labor Voodoo economics 101 – they just think there is a bottomless pit.”

The pair also clashed over the manufacturing of public transport in NSW, with Ms Haylen pointing to “cracked trams, failed ferries, trains that don’t fit the tracks”.

“They are overseas made transport duds,” she said.

Mr Elliott says he wants new ferries and light rail to have a local component in the future but Ms Haylen said the only way to ensure trains, ferries, trams and buses would be built in NSW was to change the government.

Mr Elliott questioned the cost of Labor’s policy to scrap the three per cent wages cap for public sector workers.

“I want to know where the money’s coming from,” he said

Ms Haylen said any wage increases would be funded through productivity gains and and budget savings.

“We will make sure that we actually have essential workers to run essential services.”


Topics: NSW election
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