Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 8 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2870..
MS BRESNAN (continuing):
What has happened, I believe, is that the department's enthusiasm for creating a more efficient mass transit system may well have overwhelmed its community obligations and that both elements need to be better in balance in decision making such as this. I think it makes a lot of sense to require the government to properly consider the possible social impacts of this and its other initiatives.
If that consideration is not an automatic and explicable part of its decision-making processes, then in the context of these decisions and the surprise with which they have been received, we need to ensure it is conducted specifically in this case. Through this amendment, the Assembly is asking the government to consider more carefully its approach to setting fares and to pay regard to the potential impact of those changes on students, low income earners and people who cannot afford to buy prepaid multiple tickets.
The amendment calls on the government to table this review in the Assembly so the results are available to all members and then to reconsider reinstating student fares to tertiary students in light of the outcomes of this review. We believe it is important that we have accurate information on who is impacted by these changes—currently we do not have that information—on whether the changes should have occurred or if the fares should be reinstated. We should be looking at the impact of the change to fares on each of the concerned groups, including students and low income earners, to determine where the greatest level of impact is being experienced, and what should then be done to address that.
Mr Coe stated last week in moving his motion that he would not be supporting this amendment and that the government had already done a review. I think that Mr Coe has firstly misunderstood the estimates committee recommendation as the government has not reviewed specifically the impact of these fare changes. Secondly, I am surprised Mr Coe is not supporting my amended motion to see what and where the impacts are, have that information tabled for all members to see and for the government to then reconsider reinstating the fares in light of the review outcomes. I would have thought this was something the Liberals would have wanted to see and was the most responsible and thorough course of action to take. I would also hope that the government would also see this as the right course of action to take.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (3.30): As members know, the government announced changes to ACTION fares in the 2009-10 budget. As a consequence, all ACTION fares will change from 1 July 2009; in other words, in a week's time. The changes lead to an increase of 11.3 per cent in ACTION fares across the board.
I am sure all members would be aware that, when fares are determined, the government does need to consider how the changes will affect the use of the service or patronage of our buses, among the many things that it does consider. For instance, on-board cash fares, which slow down the efficiency of bus services, have increased the most dramatically, increasing 26 per cent to $3.80 for an adult fare or $1.90 for