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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2458 ..

For some Canberrans, with the current state of the network, particularly residents in west Belconnen, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong, their local bus fails to quickly connect with the central express services that get them to and from work. If we can make the network suit these families’ needs through improvements to the network, by giving them alternatives such as nearby park and rides that serve major express routes, we believe that many more families will be able to choose the cheaper alternative of using public transport every year.

We would like to quickly refer to a forum we held last week with Dr Paul Mees from RMIT, who is a transport planning expert. He gave examples—not just overseas examples, but also from Perth—where, even though we have dispersed density of population, that is not a reason not to provide reliable, frequent public transport for people.

The example he gave was a European example, but it was a very good example where the population was comparable to that of Canberra—actually smaller—and quite widely dispersed. They were still able to provide extremely regular services for people, with about a 15-minute frequency of service. It was a train network, but they also had connection buses where trains were not available. These services were provided every day of the week. They were set times. People knew when those buses were going to arrive—at what time. It is widely used. It is something we can do, and people will use it if we provide it.

We have got many examples here in Australia too. Perth is another example where significant investment has gone in. People are using it. Brisbane is another example. We can do it. People do use it, because it is cheaper for them than running a car. We believe that if people are provided with that option of a good public transport system, they will take it up.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.12): We on this side of the chamber do not have any problem with Canberrans, Canberra families, choosing to drive their car. We have got no problem whatsoever with people investing in a vehicle, paying registration, paying insurance, paying petrol costs and paying maintenance for their car to keep it on the road and to help their family operate. They can get to work, get to school sport, get to the shops and do all the things that need to be done.

For many people in Canberra, this is not an option: they simply cannot afford to get their own car, so they get in a bus. It concerns me that there are very few people in Canberra at the moment who voluntarily get on an ACTION bus. I believe that the vast majority of people who use an ACTION bus at the moment do so because they have to, do so because either they cannot afford a car or, for one reason or another, their car is off the road.

Tomorrow’s strike is going to hurt those people the most. They are the people that do not have a car in the garage, who have to get a bus. They are the people that depend on an ACTION bus to get to school, to get to uni, to get to TAFE, to get to CIT, to get to work. They are the people that are going to be hurt the most by tomorrow’s strike.

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