State Government bureaucrats faced questions last week over how bus contracts were taken away from “private, long-standing” operators in regional SA and handed to an interstate company.Staff from the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) were grilled in a Parliamentary inquiry about the handling of the bus contracts saga which hit Hills and Fleurieu operators, causing one to lose 80% of his business.
Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire demanded DECD staff explain why the livelihood of private operators wasn’t considered.
Gino DeGennaro, DECD deputy chief executive, claimed existing operators were given a 5% advantage in the tender process.
Local companies including Woodside Coaches, Lofty Coaches and Rufus Bus and Coach lost most of their business when their school bus contracts were awarded to interstate company Australian Transit Enterprises (ATE) which operates as LinkSA and SouthLink in SA.
Lofty Coaches owner/operator Dean McGinty, who attended the committee hearing, lost all his school contracts except routes with St Francis de Sales College.