Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4290 ..
sound management of the safety, reliability, timeliness of bus services and the provision of infrastructure?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Coe for the question. There were a number of findings by the Auditor-General in relation to management issues, issues that go the administration and management of ACTION buses. One of those was in relation to mainly process issues—some of the process issues that Mr Coe has just raised now in relation to processes, practices, the protocols that most certainly should have been in place in relation to issues that are important. Mr Coe has mentioned a couple of those.
Certainly, it is a matter of enormous regret that ACTION management had not put in place the range of written processes, that its forms were not as appropriate, up to date or as current as they should have been. I think ACTION management accepts that some of the issues that have been identified were unacceptable and were issues that should have been dealt with.
But to be fair to ACTION, I think in almost every instance the issues that have been raised were issues that were under notice and that they were proceeding to address. But in the context of their priorities—other operational aspects, issues around the network, the range of work that ACTION management was doing—they were simply issues that had not got to the top of their list of priorities.
It is important, in reflecting on the Auditor-General’s report, to note that none of the issues that were raised reflect on the network itself. They are all issues that reflect on management, management’s capacity, management’s record of achievement and, indeed, management’s shortfall. Management has to accept responsibility for that.
But, as I have said before, the great pity in a way is that that has been translated by commentators, by the Liberal Party and by others as a reflection on the capacity of the network to meet the needs of the people of the ACT. That is the shame, the pity of the auditor’s report. It has damaged an already damaged network’s reputation. It has further damaged it.
It is a pity. It is my great regret. It is a regret that I have expressed. I think my greatest regret in relation to the auditor’s report is that it does represent a step back in genuine attempts that this government, ACTION management, the drivers and everybody interested in public transport have been making in recent years to rehabilitate, in the minds of the people of Canberra, the Canberra ACTION bus network as a bus network that they can rely on and that can be trusted.
We see in the media commentary, in letters to the editor and in media comments over the last month an unremitting attack on the network when the Auditor-General’s report was really around management and management failings—and not management failings that were of any great significance. Certainly, they were unacceptable but they were not earth shattering.
But the damage that has been done to the network’s reputation will now take us some significant time to rehabilitate. But we will. We have stopped. We have paused. We have gathered our strength and we will now have another go. But the continual talking