Sydney Ferries Head Australia Day Honours

The ferrython may well be a key attraction and crowd pleaser today, but under plans by the Coalition to franchise the service, will there be a tomorrow?

The union this week warned NSW coalition plans to franchise out the operation of Sydney Ferries after it is expected to win office in March, may also lead to poorer services.

The state opposition has  proposed a 'franchise model' that will involve the part-privatisation of Sydney Ferries, with the the private sector running services.

The Maritime Union of Australia  on Tuesday lashed out at the plan.

MUA Sydney branch assistant secretary Paul Garrett said on-time running was currently 98.1 per cent, while patronage was up by three per cent.

"The idea of selling off Sydney Ferries no longer passes the public interest test," he said.

"Sydney Ferries is one of the best performing public transport operations in the country.

"Passengers are voting with their feet, with patronage on Sydney Ferries services increasing across the board."

The opposition's plan would result in a poorer service, Mr Garrett also said.

"Privatisation under what's been proposed sees money taken away from frontline services," he said.

"Taking $10 million out of the budget can only mean cuts to services, removing the money from the budget decreases the opportunity to put in new ferry services."

Meanwhile is the enormously popular Australia Day ferrython sees Sydney's favourite green and gold ferries, crewed by MUA members, race from Circular Quay to Shark Island before crossing the finish line under the Harbour Bridge.  

MEANWHILE WORKFORCE reports Leading IR academic Ron McCallum is the Senior Australian of the Year for 2011, while the Fair Work Australia officer who oversaw the award modernisation process, Brendan Hower, was also among those recognised in the Australia Day awards.