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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1872 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

It is curious that Mr Quinlan would speak of all those people that have lived in the Causeway for so long. Some have but, as I look down this list, I see periods of four months, four months, 15 months, four years, 10 days, 16 years, 16 years, two years, four years, five years, two years, six years, six years, four years and 15 years. That is just a sample - the first dozen or so from the list - Mr Speaker. Again, it is this financial irresponsibility that the Labor Party continually preach that we must react to them without managing the whole stock. Mr Wood asked about the future of housing. To sell unwisely jeopardises the way in which we can care for all tenants in the long term. But I get back to the first point that I made in referring to the Causeway. Two applications were made in March 1995. I am told that we have not had any applications since. Mr Speaker, I thank members for their comments on housing and I commend the appropriation to the house.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Part 12 - ACTION

Proposed expenditure - ACTION, $4,280,000 (comprising capital injection, $4,280,000)

MR HARGREAVES (11.37): There has been much debate in recent times about the bus fare system in ACTION. There seems little point in going over old ground when some members clearly are not prepared to consider the points raised nor, in some cases, even prepared to be present when those points are presented to this chamber. The points we have made relate to the inherent inequities in the zonal fare system and we pointed out that there were and are three groups being adversely treated. The first group are those people living on the borders - evidence the outcry from the people at Palmerston. The second group are commuters who live in Tuggeranong or Belconnen, who work in Civic or in another zone. They have no choice but to cough up double the fare. The third group are school bus travellers or, more properly, the families of those students.

The motion from Ms Tucker, and vigorously supported by the Labor members, sought to address these inequities. The watered down motion resulted in the freezing for the time being only - the time being only - until the standing committee has looked into the fare structure for schoolchildren. The Government has no intention, in my view, of doing anything other than introducing the zonal fare system for schoolchildren, but has agreed to wait a bit. The publicity showing the Government and Mr Osborne is not a picture of the truth. It has misled the public into thinking that the zonal system for schoolkids is off. It is not! It is merely being delayed.

Mr Speaker, the budget shows an expectation that there will be a cut of about $10m. Congratulations are appropriate to Mr Thurston, the ACTION general manager, and the Transport Workers Union on negotiating an outcome, currently ongoing, which will be as close to this figure as is reasonable. But I would make two points here. The first is that these negotiations are being conducted in an atmosphere of savage cuts and these cuts are not new. So far in previous years over $20m has been cut from ACTION's budget. And we have to find another $10m. When will this savagery stop? The second point is that I believe, in the outyears, ACTION will be required to find another $5m.

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