Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2448 ..
ACTION bus network is around $30 million each year. Yet Mr Stanhope has done nothing to address this inefficiency. Instead of taking responsibility for the inefficiency or otherwise of the ACTION bus network, Mr Stanhope merely issues a statement of excuses, in effect blaming the staff and the drivers of ACTION for the failings of the government.
This is akin to his blaming public servants when he could not get the trees planted that he wanted planted in the places he wanted them planted, but the Chief Minister is pretty good at giving public servants a touch up on ABC Radio. He blamed ACTION drivers for being paid too much. He blames those drivers for taking too much leave. He blamed them for spending too much of their time not driving. He blamed ACTION for employing too many mechanics, cleaners and refuellers, and he blamed those mechanics, cleaners and refuellers for being paid too much.
He blamed ACTION for having too many air-conditioned buses. He blamed ACTION for spending too much on minor bus accident repairs and bus cleaning. He blamed ACTION for providing too many hours of service. Mr Assistant Speaker, where is Mr Stanhope’s action to create efficiencies in ACTION? It does not exist. It simply does not exist. Where is Mr Stanhope in his efforts to get the size of the ACTION workforce right, to reduce the number of bus bingles in the depots, the amount of dead running? What he really does is wring his hands, because Mr Stanhope is about blaming people; he is not about action.
Like many of the efforts of this government, the ACTION bus network is littered with inefficiencies and poor planning. We saw the disastrous and infamous Network 06. It was introduced with great fanfare as the bee’s knees for public transport, the way of the future for public transport in the ACT. Network 06 had to be taken off the road.
We saw $5 million spent on a bus transit lane from Civic to Belconnen. That was not an actual bus transit lane. It was a virtual bus transit lane. “Virtual”, I think, is one of the words that this government likes to use. We spent $5 million not to build or even think about building, but just to set aside the roads—
Mr Coe: It is the thought that counts.
MRS DUNNE: It was a very good thought. It was a $5 million thought. Federal Labor likes to talk about thought bubbles—but that was a very expensive thought bubble. He did not spend any money on digging a hole, and luckily there was no sham opening. But the money was spent anyhow.
Mr Coe: It was a virtual opening.
MRS DUNNE: It was a virtual opening. It is a virtual road; so you have to have a virtual opening. We have heard that more than $500,000 of revenue was lost between July 2009 and April 2010 due to faulty ticketing machines. This translates to three in 100 passengers riding for free. It has to be acknowledged that Mr Stanhope has taken some action to fix the problem. He is going to install a new ticketing system, but, like many of this government’s projects, implementation keeps getting pushed further and further back, and I wonder whether it will ultimately be implemented on time and on budget.