Public transport better
The Queensland branch of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has called for proper funding by the Beattie Labor Government for Brisbane City Council bus services. In the recent state budget the Government cut $1 million from the City Council's Community Service Objective payment. This was despite the Council providing a half-fare service to tertiary students, a concession for which the State Government provides no funds. The State Government also continues to refuse to pay the Council any money for school bus services, whereas the Council pays subsidies to the private operators from the Education Department budget. Since the State Government brought in the contract system the private operators, in Rockhampton and elsewhere, have received additional subsidies. On top of this there have been many complaints about the level of service provided by private operators in Logan, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast, as well as Rockhampton and other communities where the profits-first bus companies run. The union says the public provision of bus services is the most effective way of providing an efficient and effective public transport system. The union points to the fuel subsidy the government currently provides to the oil companies as a further example of taxpayers' money diverted to the private sector, saying it could be better spent on public transport. "This would be an effective environmental and social policy as well as providing jobs", said the union's Divisional Secretary, David Matters. "Increased use of public transport would reduce fuel and road demand, thereby lowering the prices of these."