Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1798 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
Minister, you are not going to get the information. If you are not going to open your mind and open your communication systems, you will never know. If you are going to rely on the public servants who are implementing your policy, of course they are going to stand by their original decision.
You have a different responsibility, Minister. Listen to your electorate; listen to the people who are affected by this. If you do, I am absolutely convinced that you will be persuaded that the regime that you are putting in place for schoolchildren is unacceptable; it is unfair. If the amendments put forward by Mr Osborne are passed - and I am sure they will be - and the Minister acts upon them, he will have a much fairer regime and he will eliminate all the opposition in the community to what he is proposing to do.
MR CORBELL (4.41): I rise to respond to some of the comments made by the Minister in this debate. The first point I want to refute is the suggestion by the Minister that the zonal system and the zonal fare structure which the Government has introduced for the ACTION bus service have come into place after broad-ranging community consultation. I am about to use a word that we seem to use a lot in this place, but it is certainly apt in this case. That is the word "disingenuous". That is disingenuous on the part of the Minister. He is saying, "Because we consulted about the route structure and because we consulted about where buses should go to and leave from, that means we also consulted about the fare structure". The reality is that they did not.
The consultation that ACTION initiated and ran in relation to the route structure was effective consultation. I do not have any qualms with it. There was widespread participation and there was widespread comment from people in the community about where they wanted their buses to leave from and where they wanted them to go to. That has resulted in some good changes in the route structure. But the Government did not consult on the fare structure. The zonal system relates to the fare structure, not the route structure. The reason why the Government did not consult on the fare structure, the reason why ACTION did not put that issue at its community consultation meetings, is that ACTION told the community when the issue was raised by residents at various meetings, "That is an issue for the Government because it is a revenue issue". That was ACTION's response to residents who asked about a possible new fare structure. For the Minister to stand up in this place and say that they have consulted on the fare structure is wrong. He should not be so disingenuous and attempt to confuse the consultation on routes with the lack of consultation on fares.
I also refute the suggestion by the Minister that what Ms Tucker and the Labor Party have been proposing in a system based on a flat fare was inequitable and would be going back to what we currently have but are about to remove if the Government has its way. Again, the Minister is being disingenuous. He is saying that it is simply going to be a flat fare; that you will pay for each ride. That is not what the Labor Party has been advocating and that is not what Ms Tucker has been advocating either. What the Labor Party and the Greens have been advocating most strongly and what the Labor Party put to the electorate at the last election was a flat fare structure based on time.