Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 2905..
MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):
town centres, more frequency on intertown route 300s in the evenings and on weekends, and more Xpresso services.
With rising petrol prices and the ever pressing need to reduce CO2 emissions, we must be committed to improving public transport. The federal government have shown their recalcitrance to reducing greenhouse gases by refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol. However, the ACT recognises the need to reduce greenhouse gases. One way to do that is to encourage more people to catch public transport and also ride their bikes instead of using cars. The need to explore more sustainable transport options in addressing climate change, as raised today in this chamber, is of utmost importance.
I welcome the more ecofriendly options developed by ACTION buses in recent years, including the bike and ride option whereby commuters can place their bikes on racks, very simply, on the front of a bus. ACTION is clearly committed to improving sustainable transport options for Canberra. Flexibus and Bustext are all welcome initiatives to make buses more accessible by Canberrans. I am happy to announce that government departments are now fitted with showers and other amenities to better accommodate commuters who choose to ride to work.
I would like to remind everyone of the national ride to work day coming up on 4 October. I hope that many people in the Assembly will take up the challenge issued by Dr Hanna Jaireth, the planning and environment committee's secretary, to ride to work and meet in the car park for a photo shoot afterwards.
In conclusion, we are also converting our bus fleet from diesel to natural gas. I am glad to report that management and the unions are working closely and quickly to provide solutions that meet our financial requirements and will minimise any disruption to transport services of ACTION.
Death of the King of Tonga
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (5.18): I rise to pay my respects to the Tongan community, especially the ACT Tongan community, on the death of King Tupou. I had the pleasure of meeting his son Prince Lavaka Ata, who was once the Prime Minister, as John Hargreaves mentioned, when jointly we opened the South Pacific Rugby Club, which was the brainchild of a great Canberra Tongan, Danny Manuatu, with whom I played rugby at the ANU about 25 years ago. That was a great event. Sadly, that club is no more. I think it is now owned by some other establishment.
The Tongan community have contributed a lot to Canberra's rich ethnic culture. A couple of tragedies for the community have occurred in recent times. Sadly, there has been the death of the king and, tragically, the Tongan community's hall on Copland Drive in Spence, near the small shops at Spence, burnt down only a few weeks ago and the community are using other accommodation now to continue their activities. It was a great community centre and it was a shame to see that tragedy strike the community.
I have known many Tongans. Tongans, of course, love their rugby and I have met so many Tongans in playing with them and coaching them. They are just a remarkable