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Canberra Times . . Page.. 467 ..

Other important aspects of the plan include measures to improve bus operations on the existing network such as bus priority measures at signalised intersections. At present the commuter express bus service operates between Gungahlin and the city. This will be upgraded as demand increases. Similarly, local bus services will be expanded with the further development of Gungahlin. Services similar to the 333 express will provide access to town centres, and the provision of a bus interchange will be integrated with the overall development of a town centre. Planning has also been completed for future provision of bike paths between Gungahlin, Mitchell, Lyneham and the city.

Studies examining future public transport options for Canberra have been undertaken and have identified improved bus or light rail services as possible future developments. The Government is giving further consideration to the need to extend these studies to prepare public transport strategies and assess funding options. The success of these public transport strategies will reduce or defer the projected capital expenditure of more than $90m in the first 10 years.


Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: I mentioned to members earlier that I had three matters to discuss. The one I now mention is the third. Members may recall that in the Assembly on Tuesday Mr Berry drew my attention to an article in the Canberra Times of Saturday, 6 May, which in referring to the Government used the words “It owns the umpire”. It can be assumed that the words referred to the Speaker. Mr Berry queried whether the reference was something worth responding to. I wish to assure the Assembly that the Government does not own this Speaker; the Assembly does. I intend to undertake my duties as Speaker in an impartial manner and ensure that, within the framework of the standing orders, all members have adequate opportunities to participate in the deliberations of the Assembly.


Ministerial Statement

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care): I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on home hospital arrangements.

Leave granted.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as I noted in a ministerial statement earlier this week, this Government is committed to increasing throughput of patients in ACT public hospitals, thereby reducing waiting lists for admission. To achieve our goal, we need to look at a wide range of strategies. Early discharge programs and hospital-in-the-home schemes are examples of strategies that have been operating in other countries for many years and, more recently, in Australia. Most of these have been funded through the Commonwealth’s Medicare incentive program.

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