Friday, 21 August 2009


Picture from here
Co-blogger and Networker, Denis Wilson has potted one into my court:

Hi Miss Eagle.
And another of your friendly multinationals is in the running to take over Sydney Ferries.
Jack Mundey is on the case, which is the best news I have heard in years! I know Veolia, but not TransDev, but it is also said to be a French consortium. No doubt you will reveal all.
Of course, NSW has a checkered history with Ferries, as the charming Minister Tripodi is in charge (if that's the right word). ALP Far right at its very best!
That's why I am delighted to hear Jack Mundey has reappeared.

Miss Eagle is happy to take on the challenge drom Denis, if only to stand beside Working Class Hero, Jack Mundey. Every time I walk around The Rocks in Sydney, I offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for Jack Mundey and wonder what might have been if Jack and his friends in the BLF hadn't fought off the developers.

Veolia is becoming widely known in this country through Public Private Partnerships (P3s) of one sort or another as well as for Veolia Environmental Services (or Veolia Environnement SA, giving its French version) and that spin-off's ubiquitous presence across a fair bit of Australia picking up everyone's rubbish. Veolia traces its origins back to Napoleonic times,like its compatriot company Suez. Their wealth, expertise, and technology owe much to the fact that while English speaking countries and most of Europe treated water and its related industry, sanitation, as public goods, the French privatised what we would call public utilities. Veolia is the second oldest water business in the world and the biggest in the wastewater industry. In this new age of privatising public goods, Veolia and Suez have been making inter-continental financial killings and chalking up dubious records on human rights along the way.

Veolia, these days, also incorporates transport services. They are still running Connex trains in Melbourne but have lost the contract to continue due to long and lasting public outcries on poor service. Veolia was also the major player in an unsuccessful bidding consortium (Suez won) to build the Victorian Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi.

Veolia is not new to public transportation in New South Wales (NSW). Veolia Transport has operated buses within the Sydney metropolitan area since purchasing Southtrans Bus Co in 1999. Since then, Veolia Transport has acquired several other bus companies. Services are operated out of five depots located at Taren Point, Menai, Revesby, Bankstown and Villawood.

Veolia Transport NSW is a fully owned subsidary of Veolia Transport Australia. Veolia Transport consideres itself a world leader in private transportation with a diverse portfolio of bus, train, tram and ferry networks around the globe. In addition, Veolia Transport operates Sydney's Metro Monorail and Light Rail system.


TransDev is familiar to Sydney-siders. People living on the North Shore will recall, as Miss Eagle does, the take over of Shorelink buses. What is interesting is that, in Australia, TransDev has partnered with Transfield Services. Transfield is an Australian company best known to most Australians for its historic role in mining and major infrastructure development and and, in recent times, provision of public services such as P3 tollways. However, it has teamed up with TransDev to become TransDevTSL and it runs Yarra Trams (that should be past tense soon) and Brisbane Ferries.

And all this lies in the portfolio of one Joe Tripodi who - as Denis said - is quite a charmer.

Now, far be it from me to impugn the Minister or private companies and consortiums bidding to take over Sydney Ferries, but the chances of Sydney Ferries remaining in public hands would seem to me to be pretty slim.

Regular Networkers know where this blog stands on political donations, cronyism and - for that matter - any sort of money changing in any sort of hands in relation to public and private benefit. So Networkers who think like Miss Eagle will undoubtedly be on the look out for any of these aforesaid transactions and interactions and will advise accordingly.


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