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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 880 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

back to rego. Rego is a difficult issue at the best of times, because we all drive different vehicles and we use them for different purposes. The purpose of the changes to rego was simply to bring us into line with New South Wales so that, in the first instance, we do not have this case where some people who live in New South Wales register here because it is cheaper and some people who live in Canberra register elsewhere. We are getting - - -

Mr Kaine: That is spurious reasoning, Minister.

MR SMYTH: No, it is not. We are bringing it into line so that the conditions are the same on both sides of the border. There are other issues here. The weight-based issue is very important, for a couple of reasons. The first of these is the impact that larger vehicles have on our roads. The heavier the vehicle, the more damage and the more wear and tear you cause on our roads, so we think it is appropriate that people should pay in that regard. The other thing is that the larger vehicles, in most cases, put out more emissions. Later on this year the Government will release its response to the greenhouse strategy. Clearly, 30 per cent of our emissions of greenhouse gas comes from our vehicles. There are things there that we will have to do.

This is not an attempt to punish families, especially large families. Indeed, many families and some of the worst-off families and the most disadvantaged families now receive a 100 per cent rebate on their registration. Age pensioners now get the 100 per cent rebate - free rego. Sole parents and those with disabilities now gain free registration. Many families come off better. Unfortunately, in all actions that governments take there will be anomalies and there are those who are affected. It was certainly not aimed at disadvantaging families with large cars, but it is about an all-up approach to better management of the roads and better management of the environment. I think the changes are good.

ACTION Bus Services

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. The recent budget announcement revealed an instruction to ACTION to prune back yet another $10.37m. ACTION management appears to be tackling this by further casualisation of the work force. It will do this by having yet another review - having just finished the trunk route review - just prior to, or in tandem with, reviewing the school bus system. Minister, how can you assure this Assembly that any proper review can be conducted with the threat of massive job losses that a reduction of $10m will inevitably cause? How can the public have any confidence in a review, the answer for which is declared before it starts?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the question of ACTION is a question that governments on both sides have had to deal with. The bottom line for ACTION is that ACTION, at worst, should break even; ACTION, at best, should make a profit and return something to the people who own it, the people of the ACT. The ACT Government currently spends about $1m a week and gets no return. In fact, we get about $8m worth of inefficiencies. We actually pay ACTION an inefficiency dividend.

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