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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2801 ..

I hope the Assembly will support the referral. Again I commend those responsible for organising this petition, and the more than 500 people who signed the document.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.08): I welcome the petition. I would have been well and truly available to have received it myself. I certainly know that the discussion about Canberra’s future public transport network is alive and well in the city.

The government is investing significant resources in our bus network—more than doubling the number of rapid services, to be introduced next year. The consultation closed just last Sunday. There has been a lot of input, and I know the team at Transport Canberra has been out talking with community councils, and I understand it has visited the Goodwin residents in Crace and many other community organisations. It has spoken extensively with schools, with school communities and with parent representative organisations.

This is a significant change. It is a significant investment in more buses right across Canberra. It is stage 2 of this part of the consultation on the new transport network for the ACT. Past consultation has shown us that, broadly across Canberra, the message about the type of public transport network that Canberrans want to see is one that is seven days a week and that provides faster, more reliable services. That is what we will be delivering, with a more than doubling of the number of rapid bus services servicing our entire community.

The Labor government made a commitment to nine more rapid services, which it took to the 2016 election. We will more than deliver on that, with 10 rapid bus services, adding a new rapid service from the Molonglo Valley region. That means we have had the opportunity to look at the design of the whole network. We have included in that design what we know about bus services around Australia and around the world. What encourages more and more people to catch bus services is exactly what Canberrans have told us very consistently over the past few years that they want to see in a bus network. They want to see faster, more reliable buses, more often, on a seven-day-a-week network. The redesign of the network proposes just that. It fundamentally changes many bus routes right across the city, but it delivers far more bus services to far more Canberrans.

The very extensive consultation period on the proposed network that has been out in the community for the past eight weeks—and Transport Canberra, as I said earlier, has done extensive work right across the community—has been exactly that: to get feedback from the community; to understand how the Canberra community are currently using the bus network, based on significant previous consultation, and how they would use the proposed new network.

It is a genuine consultation. There have been many views put forward. We will genuinely listen to all of those views that have been put forward. There will be some changes made to the network, but I cannot tell you today, with the consultation closing just two days ago, exactly what all of those changes will look like.

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