Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2988 ..
The cuts to dedicated school buses will have a damaging effect on families throughout Gungahlin and east Belconnen. The loss of dedicated school buses will force young primary school aged children onto the regular bus network, which means many children will have to change at bus interchanges just to get to and from school. This raises serious safety concerns for many parents, especially those of primary school aged children, many of whom have indicated to us they would choose instead to drive their children to and from school. This will no doubt cause significant inconvenience for families and, of course, have flow-on effects for our roads.
At a glance, the schools in my electorate that will be impacted the most by these school bus changes will be Amaroo School, which loses all school buses; Burgmann Anglican School, which also loses all school buses at both campuses; Gold Creek School—primary and secondary—which will go from six school buses to just one; John Paul II College, which goes from six routes to just one; and Ngunnawal Primary School, which goes from four school buses to none.
The ACT government is completely out of touch with the needs of Canberra families. They have forgotten what public transport is meant to be about. I will watch with interest what happens following this community consultation, but based on my experience I doubt there will be any real changes from the plans the government have already announced, because that is how they do consultations. They talk the big game. They spend a lot of taxpayer money on websites, communications advisers and spin campaigns only to implement what they wanted in the first place.
I sincerely hope that this is not the case with our public transport system. Yes, the consultation has been long, but we will wait to see if it is genuine. I commend Miss Burch for her motion calling on the minister to explain this language as well as to extend the consultation and actually release the results.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.20): I welcome the opportunity presented by Miss C Burch’s motion to talk about what genuine consultation actually looks like. I appreciate Mr Milligan’s interest in the consultation and his asking for the results to be released. But, again, I have to underline Minister Fitzharris’s comments to listen. Mr Milligan could have amended his pre-prepared speech. The minister has said that it has been just a few days since consultation closed. The government does need to go through the huge amount of responses that it has received.
I have been involved in community consultation for a very long time, as a member of the Belconnen Community Council, then as the president, and before that as the deputy president. We led the greatest engagement there has ever been on a master plan process. Now, as an elected member, I love participating myself and I love encouraging people to participate. I think that is very clear.
In all my years of actively participating and encouraging participation I cannot remember a government consultation that has received more coverage, more interest or more participation. I cannot remember something that has been more widely consulted on. Even though I do not agree with the tactics that the Canberra Liberals have employed, they did their bit as well by stirring people up into a frenzy. Perhaps it