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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2412 ..

MS TUCKER: I was very interested to hear Mr Hird just say that financial arrangements will be organised through the Minister's office. Apparently, Mr Smyth is going to be receiving correspondence from individual families around Canberra to prove their financial disadvantage. Is that what Mr Hird just said?

Mr Corbell: Yes.

MS TUCKER: I am concerned about this report, too. I think what it is saying is that children with a disability who have no choice but to go to one school on the other side of Canberra will be supported. This is from a Liberal government which, I thought, said that choice in education is very important. Once again, those who can afford it obviously can choose and those who cannot afford it cannot choose.

I am also concerned about the very essence of this report. I agree with Mr Osborne. I thought it was pretty clear what members of this place had said on this matter, and I do not see it dealt with here. Maybe it is, and I have not found it yet. I agree that Mr Corbell has probably come up with a better position. To be honest, I hope that the Government does not take this report too seriously, because I think we are going to end up with another full debate on it in this place. It is more than inequity; it is adhockery. It does not make sense at all; and, anyway, it is not just about children on buses; it is about anyone who uses buses. We have got to just keep having that debate here.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I thank members.

Mr Berry: I think it is already dead. You do not have to shoot it again.

MR CORBELL: My colleague Mr Berry says that it is already dead, and we do not need to shoot it again; but I just feel that it is important to note, in response to both Ms Tucker's and Mr Osborne's comments, that the resolution of the Assembly on 2 September required that the existing one-zone system remain in place until this committee's report had been presented and considered by the Assembly.

I think it is fair to point out that the committee did not have to propose a system as endorsed by the Assembly, because the Assembly was not endorsing a permanent structure for school buses. It was simply saying that the existing regime would remain in place until this report had been presented and considered. I think it is important to make that point.

There was no constraint on the committee in terms of what proposals it could come up with. Nevertheless, the point still remains that to proceed with a proposition for a new fare structure, which my colleagues Mr Hird and Mr Rugendyke have proposed, based on the same inadequate evidence as the Government has used, is, I think, an inappropriate course of action. That is why I have made the comments I have in the report. We really need to get a lot better information before we start making these sorts of arbitrary decisions.

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