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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 385 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

transport needs of ACT schools and to provide information and guidance on planning for, and the operation of, government-funded school transport. Mr Speaker, this committee has wide representation. DUS, the Department of Education and Training, the Catholic Education Office, the Association of Independent Schools, the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, the Association of Parents and Friends of ACT Schools and ACTION all attend. All the schools in the ACT are asked to provide information on their needs to the committee through these routes, so that we can meet their needs.

Mr Speaker, where did Mr Hargreaves get his good idea from? I am advised that the executive director of ACTION and other senior officials from ACTION briefed Mr Hargreaves personally on 9 April this year - three weeks before his motion appeared on the notice paper. It is very curious that his motion has in it words like "back to drawing board", which is what they do every year; and calls on the Government to include "the consideration of bus routes", which is what they do every year, "the constitution of the interagency advisory committee", which we have, and "the implication of traffic configurations", which they look at.

Mr Speaker, they provided to Mr Hargreaves this information about that review that ACTION has now commenced - that it will address the travel patterns for all schools and that it will result in a school bus service which will best meet the needs of all our students. He is claiming this idea as his own. This follows the situation where, in the first sitting weeks, other members of the Opposition actually had a confidential briefing from the Government and then demanded that the Government table the confidential briefing on ACTTAB. So, what we have here is the new face of Labor, Mr Speaker. Five sitting days into the Assembly, they have already run out of their new policies. Their new face is slipping, and what we have is nothing but a mask.

Today, we have a member of the Opposition demanding, through a motion in this place, that the Government do what it is already doing. I was not here last year. Some of those who were might remember that last year we had Mr Whitecross demanding that the Government implement the Graham report. I think, at that time, the Government had already adopted the report. Mr Speaker, I can happily report to the Assembly that the implementation of the Graham report is well under way and, as Mr Hargreaves has already noted, we are working to improve the network of routes that service the commuters of Canberra. Also, the review of the fare structure is almost complete, and we will be reporting back to the Assembly on that.

But, today, Mr Speaker, we are talking about the school bus service review. Mr Hargreaves has known about this since 9 April - well before he put his motion on the notice paper. I would have thought that that was more than enough time for Mr Hargreaves to come up with his own ideas. He is right; when he first floated this on the 28th, I put out a press release. The Valley View recorded that Mr Hargreaves had missed the bus. We are seeing Mr Hargreaves, under the new face of Labor, just regurgitating Government policy back to this Assembly as if it were their own.

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