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Stephan Knoll says he does not want to play the "rule in, rule out" game as he aims to make the state's public transport system more customer-focused to improve patronage.
Instead, Stephan Knoll says the State Government wants to "keep all ideas on the table" to make the public transport system more customer-focused to improve patronage.
In Question Time on Tuesday, Mr Knoll did not directly answer an Opposition question about whether it would rule out privatising the train and tram system.
On ABC Radio Adelaide on Wednesday morning, he also said it was "too early on for us to play any sort of rule in, rule out game".
The Government is reviewing the public transport system to better integrate the train, tram and bus systems.
Bus services were privatised by the former Liberal government in 2000.
"We don't want to play a rule in, rule out game because our aim is to deliver a better, more customer-focused service to improve patronage and we want to keep all ideas on the table on how we do that," Mr Knoll said on Wednesday.
But he did rule out selling the rail network itself.
"To suggest that we'd just flog the whole thing off is false, but, again, we are very early in the process," he said.
Government trying to 'fatten lamb': OppositionTram patronage was up 7 per cent between 2015-16 and 2017-18, while train passengers increased by 3 per cent, according to figures from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
The Government's transport review will also look at ways to encourage more people to change modes of transport, such as catching the train and then a bus.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said it was now obvious why this was a focus of the review.
"It is clear what the Government is now trying to do is fatten the lamb in the lead-up to market day before they start privatising the train network," he said.
"We think that's an appalling proposition."
The Opposition was "implacably opposed" to privatising trains and trams, Mr Malinauskas said.
Premier Steven Marshall said he was "not interested in the rule in, rule out" and the Government was "looking at all options".
"We've made it very clear that we're dissatisfied with the public transport system in South Australia," he said.
"We've seen a steady decline in the public transport patronage over the last couple of years.
"We're looking at turning that around."
Privatisation difficulties interstateBefore last year's state election, now-Premier Steven Marshall said the Liberal Party did not have a "privatisation agenda" and its public transport policy did not mention privatisation.
Melbourne is the only capital city to have a privatised train network, while Adelaide is the only capital to have a publicly-run tram system.
University of Melbourne transport planning expert John Stone said privatisation had negatively impacted Melbourne.
"The thing is we are paying more and part of the money is going to the Hong Kong company that's running the network," he said.
"It's very difficult to tell when you have money spent on maintenance or upgrades or more services.
"It's hard to tell if you're getting good value."
The previous Labor government privatised the Motor Accident Commission and the Land Titles Office.
On Monday, SA Water chairman Andrew Fletcher told a parliamentary committee that Treasurer Rob Lucas had told him there were no plans to privatise the Government-owned corporation.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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