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September 05, 2018

Labor MPs, Ryan Park and Paul Scully, have dismissed Gareth Ward’s latest petition on improving passenger train services on the South Coast Line as nothing but a political stunt.


Mr Ward’s latest petition against his own Government is yet another signal that a fix is on the way, but Minister Constance first wants to see a faux fight to deliver the solution that he already has at his fingertips.


Week in and week out on the South Coast Line, particularly on peak afternoon services from Central to Wollongong, passengers are forced to stand in the aisles of carriages, sit on the stairs or floor, and in some instances people have brought their own seats on the train or have sat on the toilet just to get a seat.


The Berejiklian Government have had nearly eight years to do something to improve services on the South Coast Line and instead of taking action, they have ignored the pleas of Illawarra commuters and stood by and allowed the situation to get worse.


The time for petitions has come and gone. It’s time that the Transport Minister stepped up and did something to fix overcrowding on the South Coast Line.


Almost three months ago, Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, put a three point plan to the Transport Minster that could have helped reduce overcrowding on South Coast Line trains. To date, the Minister has not responded to Mr Scully, nor has he taken the steps to make improvements – instead he has simply refused to meet with Illawarra commuters to even discuss their concerns.


Keira MP, Ryan Park and Wollongong MP, Paul Scully, have raised this issue with the Minister on numerous occasions through written representations, requests for meetings and speeches in NSW Parliament.


Mr Park and Mr Scully have even invited the Minister to ride one of the on peak afternoon services from Central to Wollongong, to experience for himself what Illawarra commuters are forced to deal with. The Minister refused this invitation, dismissing it as “juvenile”.


The only “juvenile” thing in this situation is the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward MP’s suggestion that his petition will solve the issue.


It’s time for the Minister to step up and take real action to reduce overcrowding on the South Coast Line.


Comments attributable to Ryan Park MP:


“Gareth knows that he has failed miserably when it comes to public transport in our region.


“This is a blatant stunt and quite honestly a slap in the face to the commuters who have been begging for action from this Government for a long time now.


“The Minister for Transport has treated this region with contempt. He won’t meet with local commuters and refuses to even catch a train on the South Coast Line. This Government knows there is a problem and thanks to this stunt from Gareth we know help is on its way.


“Gareth thinks we are foolish enough to believe this as a genuine attempt to help when we all know it’s too little too late.”


Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:


“Gareth Ward’s latest petition is a re-run of an old play from the oldest playbook in the business.


“The Minister for Transport and Gareth are trying to orchestrate a faux fight in a move that is as choreographed as a Beyoncé concert – only much poorer quality and far less entertaining.


“The Minister has a three point plan sitting in his in-tray that I sent him months ago – all he needs to do is read it and act, rather than asking for another petition a matter of weeks after he has already dismissed a petition on the same issue.


“It’s sad to see that this Government is more concerned with putting seats in Sydney Stadiums than it is with seats on the South Coast train services.”