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Rail Staff Incentive Offers


The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (15:04): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Treasurer, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, a question about offers made to rail staff.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: I understand the state government has offered to pay train drivers and other rail staff $15,000 each as an incentive to work for the private provider, Keolis Downer. Can the minister advise whether the government is also offering staff a voluntary separation package, or is this in lieu of a voluntary separation package? Secondly, is the minister able to advise how the current offer to train staff differs from any offer made to staff who transferred from the lands titles office to Land Services SA in 2017?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:05): I am happy to take the detail of the honourable member's question on notice, but the general principle he has asked is accurate; that is, the government's offer in relation to an incentive payment to transfer to an outsourced provider is entirely consistent with the practices of the former government. I will need to check in relation to the Land Services one. But I am familiar with the former government's offer to cleaners, for example, in being outsourced to Spotless. The former government offered a transfer incentive of $35,000, not $15,000.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: How much?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: It was $35,000. I think the Leader of the Opposition, when doing a radio interview today, was gobsmacked when he was complaining about this $15,000 transfer payment. He was asked, 'Is it correct that your government actually paid $35,000 to cleaners?', and he professed ignorance of that. It was convenient short-term memory loss for the Leader of the Opposition—'Whoops, I forgot that we paid cleaners $35,000 to transfer to Spotless as a provision to encourage them to move across.'

So the principle is correct. The former government did. We are not quite as generous as the Leader of the Opposition and former government ministers in that our offer was $15,000. I think the union was demanding $60,000, and we said, 'Fair suck of the sauce bottle'—or something like that—'the former government paid $35,000. You are asking for $60,000. We might settle on $15,000 in terms of an encouragement. And voila!'—good luck to Hansard in translating all of that.

In relation to the Land Services office, I will need to check to see whether the former government paid a transfer incentive. In relation to the voluntary separation issues, I will get clarity on that. Broadly, the options are that employees can stay on in the government sector and they have a job of some sort, they can stay in the government sector and take a targeted separation package in the government sector, or they can transfer across to the outsourced provider with this incentive.

I am pretty sure the answer to the honourable member's question is you can't go across and take a separation package from the government and the incentive payment, but I will clarify all of the details of that and also check the details of the former government's deal they did with the lands titles office.