Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2463 ..
Madam Assistant Speaker, if Ms Hunter thinks that she has a contribution to make to the debate, I invite her to do so. She only has probably 180 seconds but she is welcome to 179 of them.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, I am afraid Mr Hargreaves’s timing is probably accurate. You have only got about five minutes, if that.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.29): I thank Mrs Dunne for bringing on this matter of public importance today on ACTION. In 2008 the Greens made public transport a key plank of our election campaign. Despite Canberra being described by many as a car city, we have continued to campaign on the importance of investing in and improving the frequency of our buses. I acknowledge the improvements that have been made over the last few years by the ACT government, particularly in this budget. A significant amount has been put in. I acknowledge that the Chief Minister has pointed out that the Greens have had a lot to do with putting the focus back on to the importance of having a public transport system in the ACT that is going to meet the needs of people no matter where and in which suburb they live.
I also pick up on Ms Bresnan’s point that we need to do further work. We need to ensure that public transport infrastructure is built into new developments, such as Molonglo. We will continue to push to make sure that happens and that it is not left to be retrofitted. We know that some improvements are being made. Back in 2005-06 I was on the ACTION board. We were making improvements in patronage at that time. Unfortunately, the 2006 budget meant massive cutbacks and it really set back the bus service in this town. That is why we must continue to ensure that we invest appropriately in our bus system.
I want to go back to Mr Coe’s speech this afternoon. From what I could understand him saying, he said that nobody in the ACT would voluntarily get on an ACTION bus. I would like to see Mr Coe’s evidence. I think that many people are using ACTION buses, particularly now more and more people are using the Redex bus service. It has proved incredibly successful. This is something that came out of the Greens-Labor agreement.
I note that in the Canberra Times the other day there was an article about a family who were buying a house in Gungahlin. They said that one of the reasons they were quite happy to be moving out to their home in Gungahlin was that they did not have to buy a second car because the wife was going to be able to get to work using the Redex service. This was a great selling point for them to move to Gungahlin. It was going to be of great benefit to their family finances.
Mr Coe made the point that no-one would voluntarily get on a bus, yet he went on to trash-talk the ACTION bus service, bad-mouth the ACTION bus service. I am not quite sure what is happening here. Do the Canberra Liberals support a public transport system in this town or do they not support a public transport system? It is absolutely essential that we have a public transport system because there are people, as Mr Coe pointed out, who cannot afford a car or cannot afford a second car. There are children who need to get around and need to use the bus services. We also know, having done