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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2567 ..


see this even through the lack of parking in the city—that regressive steps are going to be part of the plan.

I will get onto tolls a little bit later, which was an interesting discussion. Firstly there is the $150 million expenditure on the Belconnen to Civic busway to save a total of three minutes between the Belconnen and Civic interchanges. It seems like significant expenditure for such a small saving. That is why the dissenting report, which is an excellent report—and I refer Mr Quinlan to it—suggests that the Belconnen to Civic busway be deferred, especially given the $91 million budget deficit facing the ACT in 2005-06.

Despite figures from Mr Corbell that show that 99.68 per cent of scheduled route services are running on time, $6.76 million is to be spent on real-time displays at bus stops to improve the perception of reliability of buses running on time. That is the answer we have been given. This appears to be a bit of an extravagance at a time when the community is being asked to pay for this government’s economic mismanagement. It is for this reason that the committee recommended that this be deferred and that the money be spent on more pressing community needs. Once again it is not because we think that, in and of itself, the real time display is a terrible idea; we just do not think it should be a priority at this time. Mr Corbell has also confirmed something that has been said in annual report hearings for the planning and environment committee and something he has previously denied. Asked during the estimates process about greater taxes and charges for road use, Mr Corbell confirmed that, “It is certainly not on the agenda at this time, although it is acknowledged that it is a potential policy tool down the track.”

I have to speak a little bit about road pricing because we had an interesting discussion on it. During the annual reports hearing, I asked Mr Corbell what road pricing was. Page 6 of the sustainable transport plan says that one of the issues on the government’s agenda down the track is road pricing. I asked him what that was. I asked, “Does it mean tolls?” He said, “No, it doesn’t mean tolls. What it means is that people understand really what the cost of using roads is.” I said that I thought that seemed odd; pricing normally means charging for something. Mr Corbell said, “No, it doesn’t mean that; of course not.”

Later on, when his officials were in front of the committee, I asked them what road pricing was and they said that it means charging people for the use of roads. They seemed to be contradicting what Mr Corbell said. Ahead of estimates, I went and looked it up; I looked at the academic literature. All the road pricing stuff seemed to back up what the officials were saying—that road pricing means the direct charging of users for roads. There seems to be a bit of confusion on Mr Corbell’s part as to exactly what it is. When and how these tolls will be applied we will wait and see, but that is on the government’s agenda at some stage down the track.

Mr Corbell also confirmed during the estimates process that the government had broken yet another promise, this time on the maintenance of cycle paths. One would think that Mr Corbell would be committed to cycle paths through his transport plan, as we hear a lot about cycling from this government. Prior to the election it was a $2.2 million promise, but when he was questioned by Dr Foskey during estimates there was only $1.2 million. When asked why the promise was broken Mr Corbell said, “The government made a commitment to seek to ensure that the money was provided.” So it


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