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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (15 September) . . Page.. 3961..


MS GALLAGHER: No, I will not. I will be making that public through a discussion paper when that paper is finalised.

ACTION buses—fleet

MS BURCH: My question is to the Chief Minister, in his capacity as Minister for Transport. Minister, earlier today you launched the first of 100 new buses for the ACTION fleet. Can you inform the Assembly of the features of this new bus?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Burch for her consuming interest in public transport. Not long ago, I had the pleasure of welcoming—indeed, at lunchtime today—the first of 74 MAN Euro 5 buses as part of this government's $49.5 million 100 bus replacement program for the ACTION fleet. As I said at the launch, it is not normal practice to hold a special welcome for a new bus in the ACTION fleet, but the bus that has joined the fleet today is no ordinary bus. The MAN Euro 5 clean diesel is one of the very first batch of new generation low-emission buses to roll off the assembly line worldwide, and the very first to reach Australian shores.

The new bus, the first of 74 to roll in to the ACTION fleet over the next year or so—indeed, we anticipate taking delivery of one new bus every 10 to 12 days over the next 74 or so weeks—is built to Euro 5 standards. Euro 5 is the emissions output specifications of the engine. This is achieved with ultra-layered sulfur fuel that is now used in Australia and the engine technology developed by the manufacturer. Euro 5 refers to a European emissions standard which defines the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member countries. Australia began harmonising Australian design rules certification for new motor vehicle emissions with the Euro categories in the early 2000s, with Euro 3 introduced in 2006, Euro 4 in 2008 and Euro 5 due in 2011. So here today, Mr Speaker, we are two years ahead of the rest of Australia in accepting the first Euro 5 capacity bus.

I would like to explain this move to clean diesel in the context of our climate change policy. At the time that the 2007-11 action plan was released, compressed natural gas was the clear favourite. But as technology has changed, we too must, as governments, change and adapt and adopt best practice. Advances in clean diesel engine technology to Euro 5 standard will now deliver similar environmental outcomes to CNG. CNG is no longer the cleanest fuel, with clean diesel a competitive alternative. CNG buses carry fewer passengers due to the extra weight of the vehicle's storage tanks. For every 10 clean diesel buses, 11 CNG buses are required.

The new MAN Euro 5 has the capacity for 67 passengers, made up of 45 seated and 22 standing passengers—above the capacity of our current CNG buses, with the Scania having a carrying capacity of 62 and the MAN CNG carrying 60. Our new buses are also DDA compliant and will help the ACT to meet our targets under the Disability Discrimination Act. Ten of the new buses will also pilot service information screens, providing bus stop and service information. The screens meet requirements set out in the Disability Discrimination Act for visually and hearing impaired customers. The screens will also provide information similar to that which is aired in Canberra Connect shopfronts. This will be an ideal communication tool to promote public transport and other key messages for the community.


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