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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1344 ..


numbers fell off a cliff in every jurisdiction, not just in Australia but around the world, understandably, in the last 12 months or so. Our recovery, in relative terms, has been quite positive. I think the minister has every right to be proud of the decision to run increased services during the last year. We applaud him for that.

In 2021, I think it is always pleasing to hear government officials, at any level, in any jurisdiction, talking about the prospect of life returning to normal. Although we are still a little way off, it is extremely important that there is a strong plan for transport recovery in the ACT. I think there are some extremely positive things in this plan. The Canberra Liberals are fully supportive of many of the suggestions in the plan.

I have already expressed my concerns about the push for radically staggered work hours because of the effect that it is going to have on businesses. I note that Mr Steel in his statement talks about the fact that the same number of people would be coming into the city. But certainly, for some businesses, it would require them to extend their shifts, extend their staffing, for the same amount of business, which obviously is not going to work for them. To some extent, it depends on how radical that staggering of hours is. I cannot remember the exact wording in the statement from the minister that suggests we are talking about a minor staggering to take the pressure off the peak travelling times.

I would flag that we have some concerns about the announced review of the fare structure which, according to the minister, will incentivise COVID-safe travel by spreading the peak. Irrespective of any push to stagger working hours, the reality is that most Canberrans will not have much of a choice as to when they work. I would like to put it on the record that penalising people for travelling to work, whenever their work happens to be, would seem extremely unfair. I know that the minister and the directorate will be taking these things into account when decisions are made. I understand that this will be a very delicate balancing act, but I just need to make our position on that very clear. We will be watching it pretty closely.

In a city where, for the vast majority of Canberrans, our current public transport system does not take them where they want to go and when they want to go there, any move to further penalise motorists who are forced to drive would not be welcomed either by the Canberra Liberals nor, certainly, those many thousands of Canberrans who are just trying to live their lives. I think all of us share the view that we need to encourage more Canberrans onto public transport. The Canberra Liberals prefer a carrot approach rather than the use of stick. Obviously, we have not seen the details of any proposed new fare structure, but we will be looking at it very closely.

It is positive to hear the minister talking about the next generation ticketing system to replace MyWay. Of course, I have already expressed my frustration at the time that this has taken and the various road bumps along the way. I am sure that the minister shares my frustration.

The minister has noted that infrastructure investments are crucial in rebuilding the economy. Of course, he will not get any argument from us. It is timely, the morning after the federal budget, that this has come up. I am sure that members on all sides would join me in applauding the Morrison government for their commitment to the


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