Public transport: an essential service

This paper asks the questions: (a) Is the contracting out of bus services by Government a truly competitive process? (b) Do the processes provide real competition, which ensures continuing and reliable transport services, which are cost efficient and which provide value for money to the tax payer? (c) Is it possible to provide real competition through the competitive tendering of transport services in such a labour intensive industry as public transport? (d) Does employment law in Australia and bus service contract terms limit true competition for transport services? (e) Would a declaration that public transport was an essential service make the process more competitive or would it infringe upon the internationally accepted human right to freedom of association? The paper looks at the legislative and contractual regimes in Australia and seeks to answer the questions posed above. The proposition presented by this paper is that the contracting out process limits real competition, especially when passenger transport contracts in Australia require a successful tenderer to take on all the existing employees and all existing employment conditions, including rates of pay, rostering and hours of work. A conclusion is provided which suggests that the current contracting out process is flawed because it propagates the problem and that a solution for true competition would be for public transport to be considered an essential service and therefore any successful contracted operator would be able to bid for a transport contract knowing that costs efficiencies would be able to be achieved through enterprise bargaining, unimpeded by the threat of stop work, which disrupts the transport services.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: Thredbo 15: International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport, 2017, Stockholm, Sweden

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01688635
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 17 2018 11:58AM