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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2030 ..



One of the more contentious issues for the Commission was that of the impact of Network 99 on some school fares. The Commission recommended that attention be given to public transport for schools and proposed that a study be undertaken that considers alternative fare structures. Such a study was undertaken for the Government by Roger Graham and Associates in 1998. The findings of the Graham report were discussed with the Standing Committee on Urban Service in relation to the Committee's inquiry into ACTION bus services for school children. Honourable members might recall that the Government responded to the Committee's report in December 1998.

Until we have access to better ticketing technology, I do not consider that it is feasible to make any substantial improvement in the equity of student fares. The Commission's report notes that the introduction of new technology may permit the introduction of fares that are more closely aligned to distance travelled. My Department will advise the Commission of ticketing technology developments and options in the context of the Commission's 2000-2001 review.

I am pleased that the Commission has noted that ACTION prices for student travel are not out of line with other States.

Mr Speaker, the Commission's analysis and report acknowledges the Government's commitment to strong financial management and reform. I am delighted that the Commission has recognised ACTION's progress in achieving cost savings under the recently negotiated enterprise bargaining agreement. The Commission urged that we maintain the present momentum towards realising further potential efficiencies.

ACTION's strategy involving new network services, zone based fares and labour reforms, focus on the challenges that have been outlined in the Commission's recommendations. The imperative now is to maintain the present momentum of financial reform and service improvement to contain costs and increase patronage on buses. Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to this challenge.

The Government welcomes the Pricing Commissioner's Price Direction and looks forward to future determinations and associated recommendations concerning the costs and funding of ACTION's services.

1 commend the Commission's 1999-2000 Price Direction for ACTION bus fares to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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