People powered bus co-operative launches in Western Sydney

08 December 2015

Three leading Greater Western Sydney community transport organisations, Bankstown Canterbury Community Transport (BCCT), Community Wheels Transport (CWT) and Great Community Transport (GCT), have merged into a single shared services co-operative as a response to the Government’s plans to shift away from the tradition block funding model and and move to a consumer-driven market in community transport.

The groups behind the new Community Care and Transport Co-operative Ltd, which launched on today (8 December) in Northmead, have a combined 100 years’ experience in community transport and care and provide services to 10,000 clients in the Greater Western Sydney region.

Dennis Hayward, Chairman of the new co-operative pointed to changes at federal level as the reason driving the transition to a co-operative model.

“The Federal Government’s announcement that from 1 February 2017 funding formerly allocated to service providers will be allocated to the consumer based on their care needs, will play to our strengths as a co-operative,” said Mr Hayward.

Executive Officer with the BCCT, Jenny Paton explained the importance of viability into the future and holding onto their local identities.

“Under the umbrella of a co-operative, the three providers will be able to withstand competition through using economies of scale to increase efficiencies and reduce duplication. This will be done without losing local profile and local identity”, stated Ms Paton.

The merger, funded by Transport for NSW, was assisted by the peak body for co-operatives, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) and EY.

“These operators serve clients in areas of high need with an ever increasing strain on limited resources. This move will ensure that as a co-operative, the organisations are protecting the services which the communities depend upon”, commented Melina Morrison, BCCM CEO.

“Local employment and voluntary labour will also be protected by being able to compete with established and new market entrants like Uber”, added Ms Morrison.

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