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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 594..


ACTION bus accidents

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I received a complaint yesterday regarding an accident involving an ACTION bus. Apparently, the accident occurred on Sunday at about 4.30 pm on the corner of Launceston Street and Hindmarsh Drive and involved three cars and an ACTION bus. Minister, there have been at least six accidents this year involving ACTION buses. Can you confirm that an ACTION bus was involved in this accident on Sunday? If so, what were the circumstances surrounding the accident?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, many surveys have proven over time that bus transport is second only to rail as the safest way to travel. We do not have rail, which makes buses the safest way to travel in the ACT, particularly for schoolchildren. Mr Hargreaves asks about an incident that occurred at 4.30 pm on Sunday. It is not an incident of which I am aware and I will have to ask ACTION whether it can provide details.

MR HARGREAVES: I thank the minister for his Schultz-like answer. Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. What is your government doing to ensure the safety of ACTION buses, their patrons and drivers? Is it true that, due to changes in routes, schedules and rosters, drivers are under more pressure to complete their runs on time and, if they do not complete their runs on time, they are required to make up time in their lunch hour?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the government makes no bones about the fact that ACTION must run efficiently and must service the needs of the people of Canberra. One of the things that must be done to achieve this is to ensure that buses run on time. If those opposite object to buses running on time, then so be it; they will be known for what it is that they promise. But we take road safety seriously and any time there is an incident involving an ACTION bus it is thoroughly investigated to find out what the circumstances were and whether there are any lessons to be learned from it. The new EBA and the changes in conditions have been in operation for a couple of years and the whole issue of whether-

Mr Hargreaves: And everybody is happy with it.

MR SMYTH: Obviously, you have information, Mr Hargreaves, that I am sure you will share with us. I believe that ACTION is working better than ever and it is working better because it is actually starting to operate like a bus company, as in any other jurisdiction. The question for those opposite is whether they are foreshadowing through Mr Hargreaves' question that in government they would change the route structure.

Heroin addiction

MR RUGENDYKE: My question is to the health minister, Mr Moore, and comes about as a result of a recent episode of that great ABC television series, Australian Story. The episode was called "Love is the drug" and featured a family's struggle to find a positive solution to the destructive problem of heroin addiction. The focal point was a Mr Tony Sands, one of only a handful of people in Australia known to be getting injectable morphine from his own doctor. Mr Sands had a 20-year drug history.


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