State Rail Security
STATE RAIL SECURITY
Mr PHOTIOS: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Transport. In the light of recent figures showing 84 robberies and 27 assaults against train commuters over a six-week period, why has the Minister not acted on the Premier’s promise of almost three years ago to consider restoring the power of detention and arrest to station masters? When will the Minister honour that promise in the interest of train safety?
Mr SCULLY: I am delighted to be asked this question by the shadow minister for transport. The coalition’s record on security initiatives for public transport is absolutely woeful.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Baulkham Hills to order for the second time.
Mr SCULLY: Members opposite have the gall to talk about upgrading security to improve public transport patronage, when the coalition’s record is absolutely woeful.
Mr SPEAKER: I call the honourable member for Gosford to order for the second time.
Mr SCULLY: Unfortunately, the public perception is that travelling on transport at night is not as safe as it could be. When I was made Minister fo Transport on 1 December, one of the first things I said to Simon Lane, the Chief Executive of the State Rail Authority, was that some simple principles must be followed to ensure that patrons are won back to public transport. Trains must be reliable. CityRail now has 92 per cent on-time running. That is a big tick for the Government. Train services must be accessible, and public transport musts be safe.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Leader of the National Party to order for the second time. I call the honourable member for Ermington to order.
Mr SCULLY: I am happy to do some research for the shadow minister because I am not aware that the coalition, during the seven years that it was, unfortunately, in government, introduced security guards on trains at night. I am not aware of any other city around the western world with a similar public transport system that has two security guards on every train service every night for every patron. The shadow minister for transport criticises the transport budget. Yet, the Government has found $16 million to employ 250 security guards.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Georges River will remain silent. The Leader of the Opposition will cease interjecting.
Mr SCULLY: The members opposite are not happy because they would rather this Government do what they did, which was nothing, so they could
then make an issue of it. From 1 July 250 security guards -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Ermington to order for the second time.
Mr SCULLY: I am sure that my colleague the Minister for Police would agree with my asking the Opposition to tell the truth about transit police. There are 277 transit police. As I said, from 1 July 250 security guards will be employed on trains. I am sure that hooligans will find that a significant deterrent. I invite all members to ask commuters and potential commuters to look at and notice the difference from 1 July.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for The Entrance to order for the third time.
Mr SCULLY: When they travel on trains at night they will see two security guards sweeping backwards and forwards through the trains, providing passengers with dramatically improved crime deterrence. That is trains: there have been massive initiatives on trains and a massive improvement in train security.
Mr Collins: So it is not safe until 1 July?
Mr SCULLY: The Government has two weeks to introduce this. The Leader of the Opposition was Treasurer. He knows that it takes a little time to put out a tender. I do not know how quickly the coalition did it when it was in government.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Ermington to order for the third time.
Mr SCULLY: What is the Government doing about stations? There is very good news on stations as well. Did the coalition like it? No, they did not. $55 million! Do you want me to go through it again? I do not for a moment pretend that we do not need to do this. Unfortunately, incidents occur on trains and on stations. We must do all we can to make our trains and stations safer. That is why the Government will spend $100 million of taxpayers’ money over two years. Of that sum, $55 million will be spent over the next two years on video surveillance cameras on 301 CityRail stations. When the coalition was in government how many incidents were there at Cabramatta station per month? There were 29 incidents per month. The Government installed video surveillance cameras at Cabramatta. Members opposite do not want to hear this because they know it is good news. After the Government put in CCTV and high-intensity lighting the number was reduced from 29 to three. In fact, the station master at Cabramatta said the safest place to be in Cabramatta is on the railway station.
Every station is entitled to that same level of deterrence and security. The number of video surveillance cameras to be installed is about 4,000, but that is not enough. I told CityRail that we have to do more than that. We are using interactive technology, help points, and public address on-line systems. The shadow minister for transport should join with me in a bipartisan way to promote the increased patronage of public transport that the Government has successfully achieved. He should stop scaremongering, stop frightening commuters, and get the message out that during the next two years every station will have an on-line public address system and closed-circuit television coverage. From 1 July every night train will have two security guards.