Page 1216 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
this simply does not work. We need to have a genuine and good-faith conversation about what it takes to deliver an expanded network, what it requires from our drivers, and what the government can do to support their job security, quality of work and opportunities for a rewarding career with us.
I would caution members of this place that what looks like flexibility to one worker can seem like insecurity or unreasonable demands to another. We need to work through these conversations about change calmly and constructively with our workforce.
The ACT government have indicated in the past that we want to see services run more frequently on weekends than they currently do, but we are not going to sacrifice reliability to get there. Transport Canberra’s priority is to offer reliable transport services for Canberrans, both during the week and on the weekends.
Cancelled services and missed trips are a huge frustration for regular public transport users and a strong disincentive for potential users to give their local bus route a try. We will not make any headway in driving a long-term shift to public transport if people do not believe that the services that are timetabled will reliably turn up. And we want to make sure that they are available when and where people want to use them.
Like many workplaces across Canberra and around Australia, Transport Canberra is continuing to experience workforce issues as a result of the ongoing impact of COVID-19. While we are working towards returning to the full pre-COVID timetable as soon as possible, at present this is not possible while ensuring the kinds of reliable services that I have just mentioned.
There are a range of steps that are currently in train to help address these challenges and strengthen public transport as we adapt to living with COVID. Transport Canberra is currently recruiting more bus drivers to ensure a stable supply to operate all shifts, including drivers who are specifically available and willing to work on weekends. Transport Canberra will also seek to further grow the number of drivers over time to deliver a reliable weekday and weekend network to the community as Canberra continues to grow.
These actions, combined with the potential outcomes to be achieved through the next enterprise agreement, should stand us in good stead to keep making public transport better for Canberrans. But I want to be clear that this cannot and will not happen overnight, because recruiting and training workers does take time.
Turning to the other points in this motion, we absolutely agree that there should be more women working in Transport Canberra, just like there should be more women working in male-dominated industries right around Australia. Transport Canberra has a range of actions already in train to try and tackle this imbalance. For example, prior to COVID, Transport Canberra initiated a series of come-and-try days aimed at breaking down barriers to applying to become a bus driver. They gave members of the community an opportunity to have a go at bus driving in a safe and comfortable environment. Specific days were particularly geared towards women, and these were