Page 1529 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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increased prevalence and intensity of the flu, compared to previous years when we had public health restrictions in place that reduced transmission of regular colds and flu, as well as COVID.

Because flu symptoms are so similar to COVID symptoms and people who are in essential work like health care, aged care and disability care are not able to work while they have these symptoms, this flu season has an impact on our workforce that makes it challenging to ensure that everyone is able to continue receiving the care and support that they need to live a healthy life. Because of this, I encourage all Canberrans to get a flu vaccination. Older Canberrans are eligible for a free flu vaccine, and people with disability can receive their flu vaccination at the Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic.

I remind all Canberrans to be vigilant and to stay home if you are feeling unwell so that we can keep our community safe. Avoiding COVID and colds and flu is not just about protecting your own health. It is about protecting the people around you who might be more at risk, or who might be providing vitally important care and support to people who are more at risk. If you want information and advice about COVID, you can find that at

Transport—Brisbane Metro electric buses

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.43): I want to share with the Assembly that I travelled to Brisbane last week, as the shadow transport minister, to have a very close look at the Brisbane Metro electric bus network, and I am so glad that I did. The Brisbane Metro project revolves around Swiss-made bi-articulated electric buses. They are pretty big. They are 24½ metres long. They are fully electric. They transport 170 passengers in one hit. That figure of 170, of course, is their absolute capacity. Certainly, in event mode, they can transport 170 people in one hit. I think that the actual seated number is 64. They are manufactured in Europe under a joint agreement by Swiss company Hess with electric infrastructure experts Hitachi Energy and bus company Volgren.

The Brisbane Lord Mayor describes them as the Tesla of public transport. The council has taken possession of one vehicle for testing at present, and that vehicle is doing the rounds all over Brisbane. You can imagine that a 24½-metre-long vehicle pretty much looks like a tram on the road, so a lot of people are stopping and looking at it.

I had the great pleasure initially of taking a virtual reality tour of the Brisbane Metro vehicles at the newly minted Brisbane Metro information centre in the city before heading out to the bus depot at Eagle Farm so that I could ride in one of these amazing vehicles. Mr Assistant Speaker Cain, they would not let me drive one. I was allowed to sit at the driver’s wheel; unfortunately, they would not let me drive one. I did not think they would but I had to ask.

Testing on this vehicle will continue for some months. If this vehicle passes those tests, the council will purchase 59 more and install flash charging points along the way, as well as a fully electric depot at Rochedale. The total cost is $300 million. There are some extras in that bottom line. It is not just about vehicles. But if we break

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