The meeting at the Balmain Town Hall on Saturday 7 November was packed to the rafters with concerned citizens who want to make sure that Sydney Ferries stays in public ownership. I estimated that over 500 people turned up to hear what our State member for Balmain, Verity Firth, had to say. From where I sat, the people were not impressed with her corporate speak about hopefully reaching the right decision through a market valuation process.
Leichhardt Mayor Jamie Parker was more clear, ‘We need to make sure that Sydney Ferries remains in public hands for the public good. A private operator has one consideration only: profit. What about service, maintenance and safety of passengers and crew, the environment, expanding Sydney Ferries to take the pressure off our roads? All these things matter but in the private realm, they will not.
The ferry service is a public service that, now and in the future, will be able to make a serious contribution to our public transport system by continuing to take the burden off our clogged road systems providing it remains a public service and is not privatised. The vote at the meeting to keep the ferries in public hands was carried unanimously.