Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1469..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
The new Flexibus evening service was another initiative. Introduced in April 2005, it provides an on-demand and flexible customer-responsive service. It is designed to combat low patronage of evening services and create a more efficient and responsive service for customers. Also, there have been new and improved bus services, such as the intertown 300 series. Since April 2005, intertown 300 series services in the evenings have increased in frequency to 20 minutes.
Another initiative, a favourite of my colleague Mr Corbell, was the bike-and-ride project, which was launched in November of last year and which has delivered for us. We have committed $345,000 to the trialling of bike racks on intertown 300 service bus routes, and an increasing number of people have been utilising this service.
ACTION's Bustext system, another initiative, was introduced in early 2005. It is an SMS service which provides timetable information regarding the next ACTION bus service scheduled to arrive at a nominated stop. SMS is a medium that assists people with a disability, such as those with hearing impairments. The ACT Deafness Resource Centre is fully supportive of this initiative, saying that for 83,600 deaf and hearing-impaired people in the ACT and surrounding districts Bustext will be a major breakthrough in providing even more access to ACTION's timetable.
The extension of ACTION's transfer ticket from 60 minutes to 90 minutes in April 2005 was another initiative. This extension makes it easier for people to use ACTION as part of their daily errands. ACTION customers can now go to the shops or a medical appointment during the day and travel on the one fare for up to 90 minutes.
These initiatives are all playing their part in ensuring that ACTION meets its aim of having its five millionth adult customer this year before the end of June. That would be a great achievement and shows the results of the government's commitment to encouraging the use of public transport and the way in which members of the community are increasingly embracing the use of public transport.
Of course, there was also the one fare anywhere initiative that the former minister introduced. I contrast that with the absolutely disastrous zoning system, which was probably the greatest disincentive to getting on buses that I had ever heard of in my life. I think that ACTION and the former minister should be congratulated.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services. It relates to the reported decision to abandon the planting of pine tree in the lower Cotter catchment. Firstly, I congratulate the minister on this apparent change of heart. I would like to know: what has been the cost of this government's wrong-headed commitment to pine plantations in the lower Cotter post the 2003 fires? How much of this financial year's allocation of $8.9 million for the restoration of forestry land was spent on the purchase and planting of pine tress in the lower Cotter catchment?
MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. As I have been the minister for about 15 nanoseconds, I do not have that level of detail on my person. I will take that