Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1755 ..
Ms Carnell: And "No child will live in poverty".
MR HARGREAVES: There were draconian workplace agreements. You can quote those until the cows come home, Chief Minister, but the simple fact is that the words are exactly the same, not roughly the same. Mr Howard said, "No-one will be worse off" and there is a quote in the Canberra Times that 88 per cent will be no worse off - exactly the same words. It is exactly the same fabrication. But let us take it a little step further. The phrase "no worse off" is interesting. It implies that, if 88 per cent are no worse off, 12 per cent are going to be worse off - that is, one person in eight. Also, it does not say that anyone will better off.
The Labor Party at the last election undertook to introduce a time-based scheme. We are still committed to this system in preference to the zonal system. It does not create, by definition, inequities. It does not create disincentives for travelling on the buses. It does spread the cost based on time travelled, not perpetuating the furphy that we should pay for distance travelled. A bus route is developed according to demand. The costs will occur anyway. The way to reduce the costs is not to divide the costs among the number of travellers and accept that that is what you have. The way to reduce the cost is to encourage more travellers. The zonal system does not encourage more travellers - quite the opposite. When the Graham report was developed there were comparative costs between the existing system, the zonal system and the time-based system. The figures are already there. To develop a system to take into account developments since then would not be an onerous task, nor one which would take much time, and it should be done.
The Labor Party supports this motion because it relays to the Government the public demand for an equitable system. Ms Tucker has outlined quite a number of reasons why we ought to toss the zonal system away. You have to be deaf and blind not to have seen the number of people that have complained in newspapers and directly to us and in conversations amongst themselves. It is true to say, I guess, that a family that I know in Gilmore with 11 kids, most of them travelling to St Clare's and St Eddie's, will get the benefit of a couple of free travels - and they are grateful for that, too, because they are a struggling family. I congratulate the Government on responding in some way towards that. It does not help, however, the family who live in Richardson that have to travel into another zone because no school within the Tuggeranong Valley will take their kids. They have no choice at all and they are stuffed on the bus.
The object of having a good bus system is to give people a choice, and then we encourage them to make the right choice. We try to encourage them to get out of their cars because of the environmental damage, the fact that there are more people on the road and there are a greater number of accidents. There are a whole range of reasons and all of them are valid. We try to encourage people to go on buses because we are providing a service for people which, we hope, is an efficient one which also serves their needs. Also, the more people that travel in one vehicle from point A to point B, the less damage it does to our environment and to our infrastructure. We cannot keep putting up the fares for buses, making them inequitable and a disincentive, and then jacking up the prices on people's motor vehicles and everything else they do. That is just inconsistent.