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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 882 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

We have almost as many people using bikes to get to work as we have people using the buses. That is appalling.

Mr Stanhope: You ran it down by 20 per cent in the last term, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: We did not. We have got it closer to break even than any other government since self-government. ACTION is a very important part of the public transport system. ACTION will be very important when we deal with issues like greenhouse gases. We need to make ACTION efficient, we need to make ACTION at least break even and we need to build a better bus company; and we will do that.

Motor Vehicle Registration Plates

MR KAINE: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. I must say that I am very pleased to see the course of action set in train by the previous Minister in connection with ACTION now taking effect. Mr Speaker, my question, however, comes back to another subject that I have asked the Minister about before. It has to do with the use of that offensive slogan on numberplates on cars. I am sure that the Minister is familiar with the article on the front page of the last issue of the City News talking, I will admit, in general terms about the use of the slogan, not specifically in connection with motor vehicles. It says that the result of their poll is that 13 per cent of people were in favour of using the slogan and 87 per cent of people were opposed to the use of the slogan. Then on a second question, "Does the slogan give people a positive impression of Canberra?", the yeses were 16 per cent and the noes were 84 per cent. Minister, translating those percentages to the use of motor vehicle numberplates, would you not agree that the number of people actively seeking to put on their cars numberplates with the slogan on them more closely approximates those percentages than the ones that you have previously given me in answer to earlier questions?

MR SMYTH: I must apologise for not acknowledging the work of the former Minister for Urban Services in starting the implementation of the Graham review. I think it is important that Trevor be acknowledged for the work that he did. He certainly understands the budget bottom line.

It is a very interesting survey. If you get hold of a copy and read the rest of the survey, you will see that it reveals some further interesting facts that somehow seem to have slipped off the editor's sheet when he put that one to bed. The survey apparently goes on to say that the majority of Canberrans did think that people outside Canberra would see it as an inducement to visit. When we look at the use of a slogan, the Government came up with something that would induce people to visit Canberra and bolster our tourist trade. Obviously, there is local tourism, but in the main we all know about the good things that are here and we know where to go to find out. The answers to questions in that survey clearly indicated that the majority of people thought that, as an inducement for visitors, both national and international, to come to Canberra, the slogan would be effective outside Canberra. That was the whole purpose of that program - that it be effective outside Canberra. As I think Disraeli first said and Mark Twain paraphrased, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. It was a survey apparently of about 187 - a quite small sample.

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