Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2416..
MR MULCAHY (continuing):
wishes of a community that had needs and demands. The Chief Minister constantly crows on radio about the fact that the people of Canberra want all these services, that they cost 22 per cent more than they do elsewhere, and then whacks up the taxes. But at the same time he takes out some of those services that people apparently expect and are costing quite a deal. You cannot have it both ways. If you are going to say that we need to tax you more to pay for all these costly services, you cannot in the same breath start ripping those services away from the community. What is happening here is still having the high tax level, which was the foundation of last year's budget, and we see tightening and tightening of these services.
ACTION has been another area of great angst. Clearly it has not fixed the problems, and is not even close to fixing the problems. I was in the Gungahlin area a couple of weeks ago and I have talked to a number of residents there. I have called on homes through Amaroo in the past couple of weeks, and the constant complaints are about bus services, and I hear it from other parts of Canberra. I find it intriguing that we just cannot get it right. I heard ACTION people on radio just a few weeks ago saying they are out doing a survey and asking people for their opinions and so forth. It sounded a bit like a self-selecting survey, which worries me about how good it will be statistically, but anything to find opinions from the public will probably send the message very clearly that the service is not meeting the expectations of customers.
So, clearly, in the area of ACTION there is scope for improved performance. We need to get it right. You cannot just unilaterally try to price people off the road by making car parking impossible, without ensuring that you have a slick, state-of-the-art bus service. I hear from different sections of the bus industry that this is not one of the great examples in Australia of a metropolitan transportation service. I do not have any direct data, but that is the assessment relative to other cities. I know Mr Gentleman's strong allegiance there, because it is 90 per cent unionised so it must be a good place, but the fact is I am more interested in ensuring that the people who are funding this loss-making service, the taxpayers, are at least getting a service of high quality that meets the need of our community.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, cabinet is responsible for making a wide range of decisions on government policy, budget issues and the general administration of government. Your cabinet handbook states:
Cabinet Submissions must canvas all relevant information and be of the highest possible standard to assist Cabinet in making considered and informed decisions.
What responsibility do cabinet ministers have to ensure that all cabinet documents that they present canvass all relevant information and are of the highest possible standard?