Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2960..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Indeed, since you have raised the centenary of the establishment of the capital, we are, through that process, very minded to maintain a dialogue, most particularly with the commonwealth, in relation to the possibility of the commonwealth considering the establishment of a performing arts centre as essentially a centenary gift by the people of Australia, through the commonwealth, to the people of the ACT, the national capital. I say significantly "the national capital". I think it is an issue over and above the needs of our community that, in the view of the national ballet company, the national capital of Australia, Canberra, does not have a theatre or a space able to allow a performance of the full company. I think that reflects on Canberra as the great national capital of a great country committed to the arts as a true and full expression of being an Australian. It is an issue—a significant issue—that, in the view of the national ballet, we do not have the facilities that allow it to perform in its national capital, and I think that is a pity.
ACTION bus service
MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, in last night's adjournment debate in relation to ACTION, your colleague Mr Gentleman said, "I am glad to report that the management and the unions are working closely and quickly to provide solutions that meet our financial requirements and will minimise any disruption to transport services and ACTION."I think he said this at about half-past five yesterday afternoon, yet this morning ACTION drivers were on strike, taking almost all its services off the road and severely disrupting commuters. Minister, how can your government say that it is working quickly and closely to resolve these problems when this is clearly not the case? Or do you distance yourself from the comments made by Mr Gentleman yesterday evening?
MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mrs Dunne for the opportunity to reiterate what Mr Gentleman said yesterday. In fact, when the changes for ACTION were first developed, I indicated—in fact, to this house in a conversation—that the changes would be developed and introduced in partnership with the work force. That meant with the unions, as well as with non-union labour. We talked about the Transport Workers Union, the AMWU and the CPSU—and there was a miscellaneous workers union in there somewhere.
The range of initiatives which were considered by the joint union management task force which was applying itself to the work at ACTION is a very extensive list. There are quite a number of issues to do with workshop practices, administrative practices, bus route changes—a whole raft of them. I have forgotten the exact number, but a dozen or more different initiatives have been discussed and developed. In fact, a couple of them were advanced by the Transport Workers Union, for which we are quite happy to express an appreciation.
The process has been one of open and transparent consultation, operating with the work force and with the management imperatives we face. It has been a good process. But in any kind of change process there will from time to time be one or two issues on which management and unions will disagree. The union membership, particularly that of the TWU, who cover the bus drivers, are not always available to receive this information because of their shift arrangements. Indeed, as a show of good faith, the government was