Home About The RTBU
A Short History Part of the Environment Movement RTBU in 1990s Developing a Land Transport Industry The Future of the RTBUNews
Notice of Rule Alteration Application Latest News Archive By Date Archive By Subject Archive By EmployerRTBU Journal Branches
Queensland Branch New South Wales Branch Victorian Branch South Australia - Northern Territory Branch Tasmanian Branch Western Australia BranchRTBU Organising Centre Trains of Treasure For Students
Objects of the Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union Structure of the Rail Tram & Bus Union About the RTBU
Developing a Land Transport Industry
The union's response has been to re-orient its organisers to recruitment in the privatised areas, to re-develop the workplace delegates after the upheavals of the last 20 years, and to continue to challenge the conventional competition and free market model for public transport services in the Labor Party and at government level. The RTBU is working for a broad community alliance to expand rail, tram and public sector bus services.
Queensland Shows the Way
In mid-1993, the Queensland Labor government unilaterally declared that it would close one-third of the Queensland rail network, on the spurious grounds that insufficient funds were provided to Queensland at the Premier's Conference that year.
The RTBU led an extraordinary public revolt against the government across outback Queensland, creating an alliance with rural voters that forced Premier Wayne Goss to back off and then apologise within a fortnight. The ensuing review saved the majority of the lines and broke new ground in defining what is a Community Service Obligation for Queensland Rail.
This victory for the people of Queensland and railway employees has had a major long-term impact because it focussed QR and the Queensland government on developing the whole network.
The QR modernisation program, launched in 1991, has since lifted the quality of the mainline and of the long distance passenger, freight and small parcels services of QR throughout the state.
QR railway workshops export re-built locomotives to Asia and provide consultancy services throughout the Asian region, in stark contrast to the privatised workshops that remain in other parts of Australia.
As a result, QR is a profitable, vertically integrated railway, a positive alternative model to what has happened everywhere else in Australia - separation of track ownership from train operations, privatisation of different functions, contracting out, job insecurity, and increasing safety concerns.
A new policy for a new century
The RTBU has made repeated submissions to federal parliamentary enquiries on rail development, and to State inquiries about rail safety. Apart from the brief respite under Keating's One Nation investment program in 1992-95, rail has had no investment support from the Federal Government in the decade. Queensland is the only state which has significantly upgraded its rail network. Western Australia, Queensland and NSW are the only states to have expanded their urban rail networks. Meanwhile, ever-larger long distance trucks ply ever-wider and ever-straighter interstate highways, and cars jam up new tollways and urban road links almost as soon as they are completed.
The RTBU summed up this experience and set out a proposal for a positive development of rail and urban public transport in an important 48 page booklet, Rail and urban public transport, a new policy for a new century, in January 2002. You can obtain a copy of the booklet by contacting the RTBU National Office on (02) 9310 3966 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.