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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2060 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Mr Speaker, what I want is better transport for all the people of Canberra. What the people of Canberra want is a better transport system for themselves. It is what they deserve. The new EBA will give that. If the union cannot sign the EBA, then I will have to look for other ways in which to deliver that service, and I will find the best and the most economical way that I can.

It is quite curious, Mr Speaker, that recently services in Adelaide and Perth were tendered out after the TWU would not come to the party. The outcome of that, Mr Speaker, is that cost savings of up to 20 per cent have been achieved in both cities. There has been no loss of service. I understand that there are, in fact, significant improvements to service and better bus times. So, on the basis of their trial, the Western Australian Government is now tendering out all of its services in Perth, I understand, and both Perth and Adelaide have seen increases in patronage. Mr Speaker, the Government will be supporting neither of these motions.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.38): Mr Speaker, we are debating today two motions. I think it is a pity, in a way, that we are having a cognate debate here. Each of these motions raises separate issues, and issues that demand to be debated separately. Ms Tucker has moved that ACTION not be privatised without the explicit approval of this Assembly. Mr Hargreaves, on behalf of the Labor Party, has moved similarly but is seeking Assembly endorsement of a whole range of other aspects of public transport and the provision of public transport to the people of Canberra. There is a debate that we should have, which actually questions this Government's commitment to the provision of public transport to the people of Canberra, because its actions recently give us no comfort or no reason to believe that this Government has any commitment to public transport or the provision of an effective public transport system for the people of Canberra.

These two motions encapsulate, I think, three issues. There are three basic issues here. One is the issue of the Government's responsibility to provide this community with an effective public transport system. We are talking here about the Government's responsibility to conduct EBA negotiations with its employees - with its workers - in an open and honest way and with genuine integrity. We are also talking about the fact that this Liberal Government - or perhaps this Moore-Liberal Government - - -

Mr Smyth: More liberal?

MR STANHOPE: The Moore-Carnell Government - the Liberals and the Clayton's Liberal - does not have a mandate to privatise. They are the issues that we are debating today in this cognate debate. I will not speak at length on the question of the Government's responsibility to provide an adequate and effective public transport system because time will not allow that. But it is relevant that we talk about what sort of Canberra we want; what is our vision for the people of Canberra. Our vision for the people of Canberra certainly requires that it be a vision that demands equity of access for all Canberrans.

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