Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1876 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

I campaigned during the last election, before the last election, and I have done so since the last election, on the issue of buses in Gungahlin. I urge the Government to put in place an equitable fare structure for Gungahlin residents that means there is no discrimination between suburbs. I urge the Government to look at making sure that the significant advantages that residents of Palmerston have in using public transport, particularly in travelling to and from Civic, are in place across the rest of the suburbs of Gungahlin.

For those members who are not aware, currently if you live in Palmerston it will cost you $2 to get a bus to Civic, and $2 to get home again. That is a very attractive fare structure, and it is a very effective service that currently runs between Palmerston and Civic. If you live in any of the other suburbs in Gungahlin, you have to pay $4 to get to Civic. Now, that is just absurd. It is an absurd discrepancy, so I campaigned. I spoke to the executive director of ACTION, I spoke to the former Minister for Urban Services and I have spoken to Mr Smyth as well about this issue. I have urged them to look at the prospect of making sure that the fare structure across Gungahlin is equitable and that the obvious advantages for catching buses that residents of Palmerston have are included for other residents of Gungahlin, so that if you live in Ngunnawal, Amaroo or Nicholls you should also have to pay only $2 to get to Civic.

But, instead, what have we seen in this budget in relation to the new fare structure? We have seen the Government decide that what applies to everyone else in Gungahlin - those residents who live in Ngunnawal, Amaroo and Nicholls - should apply to Palmerston residents as well. So Palmerston residents now face a 100 per cent increase in their fare. I do not see how that takes cars off the road. There is an enormous debate in the inner north of Canberra about transport and about increasing traffic congestion. I get complaints almost every week from residents of Gungahlin who are concerned about the transport links between their town centre and Civic. The constant complaint is that the arterial road structure is not sufficient and the bus system is a joke.

Mr Speaker, I do not see how increasing the bus fare for residents of Palmerston, a 100 per cent increase, which makes it cheaper for them to drive to Civic and pay for parking every day rather than catch a bus, is going to be a way of getting cars off the road. Far from alleviating the traffic congestion that now occurs every morning along Gungahlin Drive, Gundaroo Drive, the Barton Highway and down onto Northbourne Avenue and other roads in that area, it will exacerbate it because residents of Palmerston have told me that they will stop catching the bus. Why? Because it will cost too much; it is cheaper to drive.

That, I think, is a stunning indictment of the failure of the zonal fare system. It is unacceptable for this Government to continue to argue that they are putting in place equity for Gungahlin residents. It is not equity at all. It is simply imposing on residents an arbitrary distinction about where a zone should go in a suburb and making them pay the cost, and damn the consequences. I would invite Mr Smyth to travel from Gungahlin to Civic in peak hour on any weekday morning so that he can see for himself the congestion problems that exist in that area, because it is a significant problem.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .