The PWF article Unpopular backpacker ’set down – pick up’ transport regulations under review in Victoria generated a lot of comment back in November 2005. Nearly two years on Greyhound Australia CEO, Robert Thomas has appealed to the Victorian Government to lift the legal restriction preventing Greyhound bringing more tourists and travellers into Gippsland. A Gippslander has forwarded us this info:
“Appearing before the Victorian Parliament Joint Rural and Regional Committee Inquiry into Rural and Regional Tourism, Mr. Thomas said, “this unnecessary and anti-competitive restriction has a seriously negative affect on Gippsland, and regional Victoria generally. Local tourist and other industries suffer because we are unable to bring more tourists into this region. They want to come, but are severely hampered in doing so.”
Greyhound Australia is Australia’s only national coach operator. However, Greyhound is forbidden by law from picking up, or putting down, passengers within Victoria from its interstate coach services. Passengers must be picked up from outside Victoria. This is a severe impediment to the development and growth of Gippsland.
Local tourist operators, who have seen their businesses adversely suffer since Greyhound Australia ceased its Gippsland Pacific Highway run from Sydney to Melbourne, supported Mr. Thomas at the Committee Hearing. The Student Union from Monash University’s Churchill Campus was also at the Hearing in support. The Gippsland service was stopped in 2002 as it became economically unviable because of the anti-competitive restriction in Victoria.
“We strongly urge the Victorian government to look at this issue again, and to act in the best interests of these who want to develop Gippsland, and regional Victoria. We believe Greyhound Australia should be exempted from this unnecessary anti-growth and anti competitive restriction,” Mr. Thomas said today.
“We received a very good and sympathetic hearing from the Committee members, many of whom were amazed this restriction existed and the very negative effect on regional growth in Victoria it was having,” Mr. Thomas said.
If granted an exemption there would be improved transport options for Victorians, and international and interstate tourists by giving them choice and the ability for significantly easier intrastate travel. There would also be the following advantages for Victoria:
- Improved accessibility to and from main population centres for seasonal workers and students in regional Victoria;
- Improved visibility for Victoria’s tourism market to international tourists by leveraging off Greyhound Australia’s aggressive international tourist marketing activities. This would allow the thousands of backpackers who use our network every year the option to stop over in regional Victorian tourist destinations stimulating tourist dollar spending;
- Promoting ‘green’ transport (coach travel) throughout regional Victoria would feed into Victoria’s broader ‘climate friendly’ public transport priorities, and perceptions;
- Would allow Greyhound Australia to actively market Victoria as a tourist destination. This marketing exposure would be extensive across our national network, in the UK, South East Asia and New Zealand through our resident International marketing representatives in these locations;
- Would allow Greyhound Australia to expand routes in Victoria providing much needed tourism support for local business on route such as the Gippsland corridor.
S.28 (3) of the Public Transport Competition Act, 1995 prohibits Greyhound from picking and putting down passengers who originate within the State. The section is designed to protect V Line.
- Greyhound Australia services over 10,000 door-to-door destinations within Australia
- More than 1.3 million passengers every year
- In the unregulated Queensland market Greyhound Australia runs 35 services daily. In the heavily regulated Victorian market, only 5.”
Robert Thomas is available for media interviews.
Mob: 0419 229 271