Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3961..
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. Indeed, as a result of the stewardship by this government of the budget and the finances of the ACT, we were able, through a second appropriation bill which was passed by the Assembly yesterday, to announce an investment in the order of $5.5 million of recurrent funding in the network, in addition to a foreshadowed $50 million investment in buses.
The investment that is incorporated in that second appropriation bill will certainly allow us to develop an expanded and, we believe, significantly advanced network. These are new, additional moneys; this is not a matter of filling holes or changing the nature of efficiencies that were demanded by the government of ACTION, just as they were demanded of every other area of government.
As everybody knows, there are significant efficiencies that every government has sought to gain through a restructuring and a realignment of administration, most particularly in ACTION. Those efforts will continue. As members of this place are aware, and as every member of every government has been aware, with regular efficiency reviews of ACTION buses in the ACT, the ACTION bus network is almost always, in any review of efficiencies on a state-by-state, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction or bus network by bus network assessment, regarded as a network that contains within its structures a number of inefficiencies at a number of levels. Some of those go to EBA, and they are deliberate decisions of governments. Many others go to issues around the network—the arrangements of depots, the level of dead running, the nature of shifts.
The government's request of ACTION, as a result of the hard decisions that were taken in last year's budget, was to address inefficiencies in management, administration and structure. That was done. As a result of some of the changes that were made, the government now feels more confident about investing in ACTION, and it will continue to invest, and invest heavily, in public transport and sustainable transport.
These moneys are new moneys, and the government has demanded of ACTION that, through an enhanced network, it increase patronage, and we have set a target of 10 per cent. Those are the demands that the government is making of ACTION, and ACTION is working hard to meet the expectations of the government in that regard. We saw it reported today that initial returns to the consultation in which the government is engaged in relation to ACTION buses are essentially positive. Seven hundred returns or responses have been made to the government. Some of those point out anomalies and concerns, and the government has sought to address those. There are a number of anomalies in relation to network or route changes, and the government is working very hard to address those.
A $75 million announced injection of funding into ACTION buses under the stewardship of the minister is a fantastic outcome—one of the single largest injections of funding in public transport in the ACT in many years. It was an injection that resulted from the advocacy of the minister in cabinet in relation to the needs of the network and the system. Once again, Mr Hargreaves can be applauded for his leadership, his stewardship and his advocacy because, through the second appropriation bill which was passed by this place yesterday, ACTION has received an