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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2879..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

more appropriate means of travel to Sydney, as they might have to do to seek medical attention. Remember, this train services not only Canberra but also the region, including the Southern Highlands and Braidwood.

I was particularly taken by one constituent who rang me today. She said that she could not use the bus that was substituted for this service as she could not negotiate the toilets on a bus because of her disability. This has brought me to be particularly concerned about the future of the rail service, which is a commitment that has been undertaken by the New South Wales government as part of its responsibilities in taking over the Commonwealth rail service. When it took over the Commonwealth rail service it undertook to maintain rail services to the ACT.

The thing that concerns me is that the stated reason-the lack of staff and the problems with rostering-may not be the case. Anyone who has used the service, as I have in recent times, would have been highly aware on a number of parts of the journey to Sydney that the track and the line are very much at risk. My state colleague Peta Seaton has raised the issue of the problems on the Menangle Bridge. You know, because of the way the train slows down, that there are serious problems with track failure along the way.

What we have here, Mr Speaker, is a track record of failure on the part of the New South Wales State Rail Authority. It has not looked after its customers here. It has taken off all the rail services here, rather than spreading the burden across the myriad of CountryLink services. The three services to the ACT daily have now been completely obliterated, rather than sharing that load with other services.

In addition, we have the failure of the New South Wales Labor government to look after people in rural and regional south-eastern New South Wales and a spectacular failure on behalf of the new, "I'll look after you", Labor member for Monaro, Steve Whan, who campaigned on bringing a voice for the people of Monaro into the Labor government. In the first decision to really impact upon the people of Monaro since Steve Whan has come along he has failed. He has failed his constituents and he has failed the people of the Southern Highlands.

I am concerned that the minister for transport here has shown no interest in this issue. Considerable concerns have been raised by constituents, but this Labor government has not gone to the New South Wales Labor government and sought assurances that the train service will be reinstated as soon as possible. I place on the record my concern that it will not be and I will be making my own representations to the New South Wales minister to ensure that it is restored as soon as possible.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 10.13 pm.


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