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It is going to be a very difficult problem for legislators of the future. We are going to have to manage the effect those vehicles have on the environment, and the longer we leave it the harder it is going to be. It boils down to a commitment to public transport and whether you can maintain that commitment, and develop a relentless commitment to it. You push it hard; you push it harder. You continue to emphasise the need for public transport to take over from the motor vehicle as much as possible. We have done that in the past; we have continually promoted a quality product here in the Australian Capital Territory. It is environmentally sensible.
We recognise that change is not going to happen overnight and that the motor car will be a substantial part of the transport system here in the ACT well into the future. The use of the motor car will change as costs change. Indeed, transport by motor vehicle will improve with time. The environmental impact of motor vehicles is improving day by day. Some of us would remember in the not so distant past the old flivvers that continually belched smoke, leaked oil and ate heaps of fuel of the leaded variety. When you look at the new motor vehicles we drive now, they are clean compared to those we had to endure in the past, and they are reliable too.
That brings me to the next point - that, as motor vehicles become more reliable and less polluting, there is less driving force for the community to be swayed towards public transport. The pressure will go on. Standards emerging in the United States of America are driving vehicles to nil emissions in some respects, and that will result in an entirely different motor vehicle after the turn of the century. Whether it will be driven by the driving force we now know is another question, but those are things that are developing. We have to keep returning to the need for governments to maintain that enduring commitment to public transport to ensure that the community service obligations are adhered to. That has always been a commitment from the Labor Party in the ACT, and that enduring commitment remains. We will continue to press the Government to ensure that that occurs.
Regrettably, we have had to face a recent event where the Government has backed away from a very important election promise and walked away from a service that provided safety and reasonable transport for a group of people who might otherwise be badly affected by being forced to travel by other means. People are just not able to get home in the middle of the night. Yes, it was costly; community service obligations are sometimes costly, but that is life. You have to maintain that enduring commitment, and I think that was a signal to the people of the ACT that this Government does not have it.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.35): Mr Speaker, I think this has been a quite positive debate. We have heard some very structured and positive suggestions about the challenges facing us - notably, from Mr Berry in his comments just concluded. We have agreed around this chamber that we need to work towards a system whereby we support and strengthen the role of public transport in our ACT urban setting. We on this side of the chamber are supporters of the private enterprise system and private ownership of things. We certainly support people's right to own cars; but the last thing we would want to see is people using their cars on the road every day, particularly to commute to and from work. That would be a disaster. The fewer people we can encourage to use their cars on the roads the better off our community as a whole will be. Quite apart from