Page 3032 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022
with Canberrans. This budget just shows the government asleep at the wheel. I thought the aim for the government would be that they should be actually trying to get public transport outcomes out of the directorate—to actually get public transport outcomes delivered on the ground to encourage Canberrans to use public transport. But that is clearly not what is going on here. Instead, this appropriation actually demonstrates that this government is doing not much when it comes to our bus services. As the wheels on the bus go around and round, the cogs in the minister’s office are going more slowly, and slowly around.
This government has failed to deliver for our bus service since the last budget. They are on track to fail again, as the moneys move further and further into later years. It shows a lack of confidence that the government has in itself to deliver for Canberrans. This government is failing Canberrans. We need to keep Canberra moving, so we will support this basic appropriation. But come on: more inspiration and dedication to deliver is needed.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.24): I would like to speak in my capacity as the ACT Greens spokesperson for transport, active travel and the circular economy. We welcome this budget. It does not introduce a lot of new funding in the way of transport investment, but it is seeing through a number of important, already committed projects, and that is great to see.
We have the procurement of new zero emissions buses, with a target of 50 zero emissions buses in operation for 2022-23, and a target of 90 zero emissions buses in this term of government. We have the Woden interchange, including futureproofing of light rail 2 to Woden. There is the raising of London Circuit—important enabling works for light rail. There is the procurement of a next-generation ticketing system. There is the provision of bus services to Whitlam, which have already commenced, and to Lawson, which we will see at the start of next year.
We also have the Woden bus depot construction and electrification. That project, in particular, has been long-awaited. I was interested to see the Public Transport Association of Canberra submission on this particular project, in which they reiterated their call for further investment in project delivery capabilities at Major Projects Canberra and Transport Canberra and City Services, to ensure that all of our budgeted projects are actually delivered and not continually “re-profiled” into the future. They said:
The 2021-22 budget re-profiled over $26 million in transport-related capital works, including the new Woden bus depot for the 5th year in a row. These are significant investments the Canberra community is missing out on, and failing to deliver them undermines the ACT Government’s public transport vision.
Those are not my words; those are words from experts who are working in the public transport advocacy field. Actually, they are just making a really plaintive call that we need more staff. A lot of work is being done, and more people are needed to do this work. Canberra can be a nation that leads in our public transport. Our light rail system is gold standard with respect to reliability, frequency and ridership, and, frankly, in popularity.