Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today that from this Sunday the private sector would take over the remaining Transperth services operated by MetroBus, in another major step in the reform process of Perth's public transport operations.
Mr Charlton said 229 MetroBus employees had elected to take up positions offered by the private operators, which was only about half the number of positions available. The remaining jobs were filled from outside MetroBus.
"A total of 437 MetroBus staff have decided to seek redeployment within the public sector and the Government will now provide a comprehensive training program for those who have decided to stay," the Minister said.
"Following initial training and assessment, placements are to be made across the public sector, including 100 employees to be absorbed into the Police Department for clerical and similiar duties.
"There is a wide range of positions being arranged, including work opportunities in the Public Service for 100 employees who have passed the public service entry level examination.
"Those seeking redeployment will have opportunities with the Kings Park Board, the Rottnest Island Authority, TAFE, the Karrakatta Cemetery Board, Keep Australia Beautiful Council, Metropolitan Local Government Authorities, Fremantle Port Authority, CALM and the Premier's graffiti team."
Mr Charlton said the redeployees engaged in positions within the public sector would provide worthwhile services for the community.
"As the MetroBus era draws to a close, I would like to thank the chairman and board members, management and staff of the Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust for the huge contribution they have made to the public transport reform process," he said.
"We have spent a lot of time and considerable effort working with everyone at MetroBus during the past eight months to help them better manage the changes which are occurring across the public transport industry.
"The 437 MetroBus employees who have requested redeployment within the public sector will now participate in one of the most comprehensive career transition packages ever put in place in this State."
"Every redeployee will participate in a specific four-week program to be held at Curtin university which will guide them through an extensive process, including one-on-one counselling, self-assessment, skill profiling, goal setting, communication skills and improving the ability to adapt to change.
"Following this initial transition program the Ministry of Premier and Cabinet, Transport and MetroBus will work together to co-ordinate the placement of redeployees across the public sector."
Earlier this year successful tenderers for the various Transperth services had to demonstrate their ability to provide the maximum opportunity for current MetroBus employees to find jobs with the new operators of the services.
Apart from the option of redeployment, MetroBus employees were offered the option to nominate for a voluntary severance package, or the option of receiving a full transition payment to move to jobs with the successful private sector operators.
Southern Coast Transit will operate the Fremantle, Cockburn and CAT system services. International operator CGEA Transport Asia Pacific Pty Ltd will run the Belmont/Claremont service and PATH Transit Pty Ltd will provide the Morley service.
Mr Charlton said that although it had been a difficult time for MetroBus employees, the reform process had brought enormous benefits in terms of Perth's public transport services.
Emphasis in public transport was directed to providing Perth with innovative and flexible services and the best buses and trains money could buy.
"The State Government's thrust is to encourage more people to use the system by offering top-quality service and latest-technology urban passenger trains, and the world's best low-emission, low floor buses," the Minister said.
"The first 133 of our new buses will come into service at the end of this year and with innovative and customer-focussed services we aim to build on the public swing towards the public transport system.
"Last year there were more than two million additional boardings on our buses which was the first increase in patronage in nine years.
"To further boost the public transport, Westrail will take delivery later this year of an additonal five two-car sets of trains for the northern suburbs passenger rail link."
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333