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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2036 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

As members can see, this policy benefits families all over the ACT. It is just one of the many initiatives in the DUS budget that ease the pressures on Canberra families. Of course, we are reducing the cost of car and motorbike registrations by $58. This budget also provides $2 million over four years to extend the public transport concessions to include people who hold a health care card (low income), which will provide 5,000 Canberrans with assistance for travel costs.

Mr Berry has claimed that no-one has called for the introduction of free school buses. There are 16,000 voices that are calling fairly loud.

MR HIRD: My supplementary question is in two parts. First, has the government received feedback from parents supporting the introduction of free school buses? The second part deals with you, Mr Speaker. As government whip, I would like to say congratulations on a special day, this being your birthday. Happy birthday, sir.

MR SPEAKER: I thank you, though it would be better if you would all behave yourselves.

MR SMYTH: We have had plenty of feedback supporting the free school buses. I think the best comment we have received is an email I understand a number of members of the Labor Party have also received. I will read just some of it:

I am writing to you as a member of the Labor Party, to make a couple of points about the free school bus proposal put forward recently by the Liberal Party.

The first decision of any government that would have benefited our family was the free school bus travel proposal. I have three sons-two attend St Edmund's and third is in kindergarten at St Benedict's at Narrabundah. We reside in Chisholm. We choose to send our boys to these schools so that the religious teaching they have at home is supported in the school environment. That is our choice.

I am sure that you will be aware of the recent concerns expressed about boys in the education system. This is the second reason for sending our boys to these schools. I am very aware of the fact that boys do not receive equitable treatment in a mixed school situation.

The constituent goes on:

With three children travelling, we now pay $39 a week. It does not take a mathematical genius to extrapolate this figure across 10 weeks and 4 terms and realise that this cost is too much.

Children travelling from Jerrabomberra receive free bus travel-a Labor Party initiative. I feel very much that you have let the education lobby prejudice your judgement on this issue. I would remind you that Catholic school students are not funded to the same degree as State school students and are therefore a cheap educational option for any Government. I would also remind you that in the 1960s to get any funding for our children the then Archbishop of Canberra Goulburn instituted a strike of Catholic schools and sent the children to the government schools instead-which could not cope.

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