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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 333..

MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

of the services. The government has done that, as indicated by the figures on the increase of bus patronage that the minister quoted yesterday. It is encouraging to see this sort of progress being made.

The minister mentioned that he is aware of the need to make savings in administration and services to contribute to the overall budget for the city. The removal of the ACTION authority, to minimise the duplicated bureaucracy that it once caused, was an important step to take.

The minister mentioned that he would be looking into ways to reduce spending when entering the new enterprise bargaining agreement with ACTION bus drivers. Unfortunately the drivers are often a forgotten people when issues surrounding bus timetables and routes are discussed. It is important that the minister listens to the needs of the drivers as well.

I met an ACTION driver at my Lanyon community stall last weekend. He informed me that he agreed with the new timetable and route system in principle—that it just required a bit of tweaking to get it right. He noted that the numbers on the buses had increased, and that rarely was he on a route that carried fewer than 10 people. His major concern was that on the inter-town routes buses tended to be overcrowded. He asked if government was looking to review the system. As the Assembly is aware, the minister has begun that review. Again, it is encouraging to hear that the minister has responded in this way by adding more services.

I do feel that it is necessary to mention the opposition's stance on this. Those opposite have constantly criticised, yet have offered no feasible solution. The minister has informed the Assembly that, though the opposition claims hundreds of complaints from concerned members of the public, on only one occasion has there been a failure of the service mentioned by the opposition, and that was due to the bus breaking down.

It is important to mention this example. I believe that, even though there are few reported problems with the new service, the problems still all warrant recognition and investigation. There will always be teething problems with new systems and adjustments to major transport networks as they are implemented. What is fundamental to good government is that, if and when these problems arise, the responsible representatives take action. I am pleased to hear that the government is listening to the drivers of ACTION and their representatives. The government is listening to the MLAs and, just as importantly, the government is listening to the public.

The point I am making today is that people have spoken on this issue and raised it, and the government has responded. What is important now is that the minister continues to respond to the needs of the people. Thank you.


DR FOSKEY ( Molonglo) (6.04): This is a week in which International Women's Day occurs. I am going to use my adjournment time to talk about it both today and tomorrow. People will be interested to know about that august forum, the World Economic Forum. It is not known for its radical ideas, but it is accepting of the World

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