Page 1220 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
negotiation going on. There is just a respectful way to do it. We talk about nurse-to-patient ratios when agreements are under discussion. We talk about classroom sizes. This is just something that happens. I would say that almost any time an EBA is being negotiated, the industry and the policy issues that that industry is working in are going to be talked about in the public realm. They kind of have to be. We are always here talking about health, education, transport and those really core issues. We have talked about it again today and we will continue talking about it until we fix the problem.
As impatient as I am to get real climate action and to fix our buses so that people can use them the way they are meant to be used, I also understand that it does take time. We understand that we need more drivers. I am equally impatient about the gender representation in our bus-driving workforce. We are very low nationally at 13 per cent. We are even lower locally in the ACT at 11 per cent. I am pleased to see that we have some government strategy to start driving that up. I am very keen to make sure that we get a really good target set on that so that we are tracking it.
I certainly would not accept calling victory on gender equity in bus drivers with the national average of 13 per cent. I would say we should be aiming for fifty-fifty or something that looks much more like the representation we get in many other industries. I certainly think that is a realistic goal. It is great work and many women would love to do it. We just need to help them do that. We need to track it and make sure that we are performing and achieving what we say we will achieve.
I just want to reiterate what this motion does. There seems to be a little bit of confusion so I will just run through it. It is really simple. We understand that we need to expand our workforce to provide enough drivers. We had a really good discussion about that last Assembly. We know that that needs to happen. Everybody is in agreement, so that is fantastic. I have just reasserted that we need to get back to the regular timetable as soon as possible this year because a lot of people are getting a bit worried about how long that is going to take. We also know that we need to pursue outcomes to get to our hourly route bus services all weekend and I have said that we should do that from 2023. I think that is a realistic time frame, given what is going on. I think it gives everybody a lot of reassurance to know when we are going to be doing that. We have said we will do it. We have not achieved it. Let us just set the dates down and say, “Here’s when we are going to get there. We know we can do it.”
We have a lot of initiatives about getting women into transport and getting more women bus drivers, but we have not yet achieved those. This is a new initiative. We are at 11 per cent. We know we need a lot more women bus drivers. Let us start tracking that. Let us start having a look at what some of the other states are doing and make sure that we are increasing that as quickly as we can and doing what we can to support women to get into this industry. I certainly would not be taking the national average of 13 per cent as my goal. I think that is deeply lacking in ambition. I think we can do a lot better than that.
We know we need to work with our unions. We always need to work with our unions. Of course we do it. We do it when we are talking about nurse-to-patient ratios. We do it when we are talking about classroom sizes. We do it in all these fields and, of