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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 August 2010) . . Page.. 3786 ..

supported by government that requirements or limits such as that are artificial and do impact quite significantly on ACTION’s performance. For instance, here in the ACT on average 67 per cent of driver time is spent on road, compared with a best practice industry benchmark of 79 per cent. A difference between 67 per cent driver time on road as against a national average of 79 is the sort of issue that does reflect quite significantly. There are a couple of others and I will be happy to expand on those.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, do you believe there are opportunities to provide more efficient and responsive bus services to the people of Canberra?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Porter. Certainly I do believe that. I certainly do believe that the government’s capacity, or ACTION’s capacity, to do that does require that we address some of these issues around the industrial—

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order, I believe that the supplementary question asked Mr Stanhope for an expression of opinion and would be contrary to the standing orders. I would ask you to rule on that.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Stanhope is responding to Ms Porter’s question as the Minister for Transport. When he talks about whether he believes something, it is from a factual basis of his command of his subject matter. This is not a hypothetical. “Does he believe something” is not the same as hypothecation.

MR SPEAKER: That is not the—

Mrs Dunne: It is not hypothetical; it is an expression of opinion.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Mr Hanson, I have spoken to the Clerk about this matter just recently. I think it is the practice of this place that ministers are often asked, from all sides of the chamber, questions that could be considered to be seeking an opinion. I think the practice of this place is to be not excessively strict on that standing order. Questions such as the one Ms Porter has just asked are, I think, within the spirit of the standing orders. I do not propose to rule the question out of order.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is, of course, a matter of enormous regret that the Liberal Party are not interested in public transport or ACTION and would actually seek not to have information in relation to these important issues. The fact is, of course, that I do believe there is enormous room for improvement in the services which ACTION delivers or should be delivering. That is at the heart of the question that Ms Porter asked: is there room for improvement? Do we need to do more? What is it that we need to do to ensure that ACTION does become a more efficient transport operator? What is it that we can do to drive efficiencies? What are the steps that we can take that will create those efficiencies, create a better

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