Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2022) . . Page.. 863 ..
and I want personally to thank them for the dedication and professionalism with which they conduct their jobs and for making every journey a pleasant and efficient one.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.20): I thank Mr Parton for bringing this motion before the Assembly. Last month in Tasmania, transport minister Michael Ferguson declared that public transport would be free for five weeks. He stated that there were two reasons for this initiative: (1) they wanted to help families with the cost of living impact of high fuel prices; and (2) they wanted to use this opportunity to encourage people to give buses a try, so that, hopefully, many of these people would fall in love with public transport. Mr Parton’s motion should achieve both of these aims as well.
Free travel and more frequent buses should attract new users to increase the overall base usage of our public transport. It will hopefully bring back long-time bus users that have fallen into the habit of driving after giving up on the chaos that has been our public transport system for some time.
A constituent of mine who has been a public transport enthusiast for 20 years related to me that the interim bus timetable and unreliability of the buses have combined to make these past months the worst public transport experience he can remember. He has largely stopped using it for the first time in his life. He now drives to and from work every day. He feels like he has been trapped between a rock and a hard place. The interim timetable has meant that it takes him longer to get to his destination than if he took a car; but, with fuel prices so high, the car is more expensive.
Combining a period of free buses and a restoration of the regular timetable is the perfect solution to get him out of his car and back onto public transport. The restoration of the regular bus timetable is the least that this government could do for bus users after their successive cuts to well-loved bus routes in the past four years. Residents in Ginninderra alone have had to endure the cuts of over 10 well-loved bus routes, including all of the Xpresso buses.
The federal government has made a move to decrease cost of fuel pressures for everyday Canberrans. It is now time for the Labor-Greens government to do the same. On behalf of our past, present and future public transport enthusiasts, I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.22): We will not support Mr Steel’s amendment. Mr Steel’s amendment basically says, “This would be a cracker of an idea if it was ours.” Basically, he has already flagged, in his response here, that it is probably something that the government will do, and at that point they will be throwing all of the recommendations of that ROGS report out of the window. I know Mr Steel would say that that will be in response to an exceptional circumstance, and I would argue that this is in response to an exceptional circumstance.
It is in line with a lot of the ideas that come into this place, in that they are great ideas if they come from the government, but not if they come from us. I recall Mr Steel saying in the chamber, “I will not be taking advice from Mr Parton on anything.” If I came into the chamber and said that it was Wednesday, Mr Steel would not take that