||Issue No. 296||24 February 2006|
Interview: Court's in Session
Industrial: Whose Choices?
Politics: Peter's Principles
Environment: TINA or Greener?
History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
Education: No AWA - No Job
Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
Review: Charlie the Serf
The Locker Room
For Whom the Toll Bells
Labor Sells Hydro
Stop the Hordes
‘Revolving Gangplank' at Sydney Ferries
"Over the past five years we have had no less than ten managers and three State Ministers for Transport responsible for Sydney Ferries," says NSW AMWU Secretary Paul Bastian. "Every time there has been a problem, the manager resigns or is sacked. A new manager comes in with an entirely different style and priorities to the last manager.
"So effectively there has been no management at Sydney Ferries."
Bastian pointed out that an "army" of highly paid consultants accompanies each new minister and manager, each making their own set of recommendations on strategies, budget cuts and priorities that are often in conflict with the last consultant's advice.
Bastian says that the end result is no long term planning or strategy at Sydney Ferries.
"On the advice of one of their consultants, ten years ago Sydney Ferries halved their maintenance workforce," says Bastian. "Since then there has been a revolving door of contractors rather than a well trained, stable workforce.
"At any one time, up to almost half the maintenance workers could be contractors, working on out dated equipment, without the training and experience they need.
Bastian says the travelling public has a right to expect the highest possible standards of safety and reliability from Sydney Ferries.
"That's not possible unless the Government is committed to providing stable management, a long term strategy and a well trained permanent maintenance staff."
The latest manager, announced this week, is Waterways chief and former navy fleet commander Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould, who will take charge of Sydney Ferries for six months following the departure of Sue Sinclair after just 21 months as chief executive.
Sydney Ferries has an annual maintenance budget of $22 million.
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