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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1874 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

To be consistent with the other zones, the central zone should have been extended to the Gungahlin Town Centre, including Palmerston and Mitchell, with a shared zone around Palmerston and the Gungahlin Town Centre. It is particularly surprising that Gungahlin of all areas should be so badly treated when it has been consistently badly treated regarding transport.

In terms of the development of the town centre, this is indeed an irony and it is of grave concern. It is almost as if the Government has done this on purpose, putting so much pressure on Gungahlin that all the people will definitely get behind the John Dedman Parkway because the bus system is going to be unbearable for them. And this is a real worry. I cannot understand how the Government feels it can stand up in this place and claim to be a caring government, or a clever government, when obviously it is not taking into account fundamental issues when designing the fare system for ACTION. This will have a negative impact not only on our society and our community but also on our environment, as I have said so many times in this place.

What we had yesterday in this place was a debate which was ludicrous and would be funny if it were not so tragic. We ended up getting protection for one particular group in the community from the zone system - that is, children going to schools out of area - yet the rest of the community is just left to deal with it. What this shows is that the system does not work. The Government has said the system does not work because it supported Mr Osborne's amendment to my motion, which basically sought protection from the system for a particular group in the community. So the Government has said that the system does not work. But the Government is still claiming that it is doing the right thing, and it will continue to do so. What that shows is that it does not care about the rest of the people in the community who use buses and do not have a choice. Lots of people who have a choice do use the buses, but they will probably choose not to do so when it becomes so incredibly expensive for them.

The other arguments that keep coming from government, which I raised yesterday, concern the cost implications of actually getting in and providing an attractive bus service. As has been demonstrated clearly time and again in many cities around the world, when you get in there and invest - note that I am not using the word "subsidise" - in a good public transport system, you end up not needing to put so much money into it because you get money back from the increased patronage. We actually support the public transport system more, because in cities which have much lower fares and time-based fares people use the buses. They are an attractive alternative, more attractive than using their car. That has to be the basic and fundamental aim of any government that claims to be vaguely responsible about the environment or social equity in our community.

MR CORBELL (11.47): Mr Speaker, I know that this morning's debate is not one which is gripping media attention or the attention of anyone other than those who are directly involved in it. Mr Speaker, I would have thought that those people upon whom the Government relies for the passage of this budget would at least be down here putting on the record their comments as to why they are prepared to support this budget, and indeed what concerns, if any, they have about aspects of the budget.

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