Fears footy fans will be thrown un­der bus

The Advertiser - - NEWS - ADAM LAN­GEN­BERG PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTER

THE full cost of run­ning the pop­u­lar Footy Ex­press pub­lic trans­port ser­vice will be shifted away from the tax­payer and on to peo­ple who use it, the State Gov­ern­ment has con­firmed, prompt­ing fears foot­ball ticket prices will in­crease.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Stephan Knoll has guar­an­teed the ser­vice will con­tinue in its cur­rent form for next year but says af­ter this time, when the cur­rent con­tract ex­pires, the Gov­ern­ment will seek to re­cover the full cost of the ser­vice.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­tin­u­ing as to whether the cost of any on­go­ing ser­vice would need to be picked up by fans when they board pub­lic trans­port, or through the Ade­laide Oval Sta­dium Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (SMA) and Ade­laide and Port Ade­laide foot­ball clubs.

It is not clear if the SMA and the clubs would ab­sorb the ad­di­tional cost of fund­ing the ser­vice, or pass it on to fans through more ex­pen­sive ticket prices or an in­crease in food and drink costs at the ground.

Mr Knoll said foot­ball trans­port should even­tu­ally cease to be tax­payer-sub­sidised, in the same way that con­certs, bas­ket­ball and soc­cer games are.

“We need to make sure that ev­ery sport­ing or con­cert event in SA pays its fair share,” he said. Mr Knoll said the Gov­ern­ment was still ne­go­ti­at­ing the tran­si­tion to full cost re­cov­ery with the SMA and was un­sure what the fund­ing ar­range­ment would look like into the fu­ture.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Peter Malin­auskas said fam­i­lies would have to pay sig­nif­i­cantly more to go to the footy if the cost of the ser­vices was passed on to con­sumers by the clubs.

“Footy Ex­press is a pop­u­lar ser­vice, which makes a trip to the footy that lit­tle bit cheaper for fans, while also eas­ing con­ges­tion on our roads on match days,” he said.

Ade­laide and Port Ade­laide foot­ball clubs and the SMA are await­ing for dis­cus­sions with the Gov­ern­ment.

Ade­laide Crows Sup­port­ers Group as­sis­tant trea­surer Colleen McKaye called for the ser­vice to re­main part tax­payer­funded, say­ing it was get­ting “in­creas­ingly un­af­ford­able” to go to the foot­ball.

Mean­while, the Gov­ern­ment con­firmed yes­ter­day it would not of­fer free pub­lic trans­port to thou­sands of South Aus­tralians at­tend­ing to­day’s Credit Union Christ­mas Pageant. Free pub­lic trans­port into the city was of­fered to the about 330,000 who at­tended the Pageant last year, but a State Gov­ern­ment spokesman said it was a one-off.

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