Page 1213 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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are spending thousands each year so that they can get around on a weekend. It is bad for them, it is bad for our city congestion and it is bad for the climate.

If your bus only shows up once every two hours, that is no good. But if the bus service does not show up at all then you have lost half a day of your life. You might have missed an important event, an appointment, a visit or a work shift. You might lose your job. Reliability sometimes is not too bad. Last weekend it was pretty good: 97 per cent of our buses showed up. But on the weekend of 26 of February, only 87 per cent showed up. We cannot have a weekend timetable where one in 10 buses does not come and the ones that do come once every two hours.

It is not just a problem on the quiet suburban routes. One of the busiest routes on the weekday is route 32, which takes a meandering course from Belconnen, via Jamison, through Macquarie, down into Cook then Aranda and into the city. It is one of the busiest buses in the whole network. Those people in Macquarie, Cook and Aranda—that is my patch—love the bus. But by the time Saturday afternoon comes around we cannot really catch it anymore. We have six bus services on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday we only have eight all day long. A proper seven-day, reliable, frequent bus service would really help all of these people out. It would help out our older kids who would catch the bus instead of asking to borrow the car or get driven. It would help shape an entire set of habits for the next generation. And it would empower people to take real action on the climate.

This motion also calls for our bus driver workforce to better reflect our population. Our drivers at the moment are predominantly male, but driving a bus is a great job. Drivers have worked hard over decades to get some of the best pay and conditions in the country, and the ACT Greens strongly support public sector jobs with great pay and conditions. I would love to see more women get this kind of work. A woman on minimum wage who decides to get a job as a bus driver would more than double her hourly income. One of the ways we can address the gender pay gap is by getting more women into predominantly male industries. We need to set a target and have a really good program in Transport Canberra to hire and retain more women, ideally in permanent roles.

Transport Canberra have named this problem. They are working on getting more women drivers. They have taken some steps to improve, such as running a come-and-try day for women and doing targeted recruitment ads in HerCanberra, but we need to do much more. Victoria recently developed a Women in Transport program, and they have a target to increase by 10 per cent each year. We could replicate that here in the ACT.

There are a lot of barriers women face when getting a job and staying in it. I know this because I have done it. A lot of women do not see pathways for themselves in a predominantly male industry. They do not see anyone who looks like them doing the job. They may face cultural barriers. They may face difficulties even getting the job because men have had more opportunities to get the industry experience and so they are hired first. These are general barriers that apply to a lot of predominantly male industries, and we can use the tools we have used elsewhere, but there are a few particular issues in bus driving.

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