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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2807 ..

MR DE (continuing):

much to offer the Japanese visitor, and we are in an enviable position compared to other areas of Australia because of our relationship with Nara. In order for this to happen, Canberra must be visible in the Japanese tourism marketplace. I am pleased to report that, as a result of the Chief Minister's visit, this is happening at a far greater rate than at any other time since we entered our sister-city relationship. I present the following paper:

Tourism Promotion in Japan - ministerial statement, 29 August 1996.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Discussion of Matter of Public Importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Moore proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The issue of a coordinated strategy in public transport for the ACT.

MR MOORE (3.50): I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak on this issue. Prior to the election, the Liberal Party placed great store on their public transport policy, and we all got very excited. We were excited at the prospect of taxis and small and large buses providing a service for our community that would be cost effective as well as meet the needs of the population. Indeed, the Liberal Party stated in its policy that the wellbeing of every person in the ACT is greatly affected by the efficiency, flexibility and safety of the transport system. It is reminiscent somewhat of the more recent Federal election, where we had the Liberal Party talking about being a party for all Australians. There was talk of an individual passenger-responsive public transport system, and we also got excited about that idea. The current Government also promised to use minibuses and taxis to provide transport services on low patronage routes.

What have we seen? It seems to me that we have seen bus fares increase by something in the order of 60 per cent in less than 18 months, with the CPI at about 5 to 6 per cent. We have seen a reduction in service frequencies, in many areas up to 50 per cent, particularly with the release of the new Bus Book in May this year, I think it was. Many have complained of a reduction in the actual service and the deterioration of the quality of that service. Many buses have simply been cancelled without notice. We have received complaints about bus drivers driving right past students waiting on the side of the road to go to school. Not only have we received complaints in our office about such things, but there was also a series of letters to the editor about this very issue. What was ACTION's response on that? The bus was full and there was no other scheduled for that route, even though it was obviously warranted: Too bad, the bus is full, leave the kids there standing on the side of the road, five or six kilometres from their school.

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