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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2750 ..

Mr Osborne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. My interjections are because Mr Hargreaves offered to give me a briefing here today. I am completely focused on him. I have asked him. He has offered to-

MR HARGREAVES: What is the point of order?

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order, Mr Osborne.

Mr Osborne: He offered me a briefing. I am listening. I am waiting to hear the difference between an authority and a corporation.

MR SPEAKER: Sit down. You will be given the opportunity to make the point afterwards if you wish to stand up and speak again. I am sure the Assembly will give you the right to do so.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Osborne was given the invitation two days ago and he chose to ignore it. That is bad luck for him.

The issue that I wish to raise now is that the provision of ACTION bus services falls into two parts. One is community service obligations and the other is a competitive optional transport system as an alternative to motor cars. We need to separate those two entities when we start judging ACTION's performance. It is not fair to have a public bus system which everybody expects to be provided and then to judge it for its commerciality. For the optional part of its services, certainly, we need to do that. (Extension of time granted.) Thank you very much. Had it not been for the interruptions I would not have needed extra time.

Mr Speaker, it is my hope that the board of an ACTION authority will present to the government of the day its performance in those two bites; that it will talk about quantifying its community service obligation and tell government what it believes the community has to pay to discharge those. We will judge them on that, separately from the optional bus service, and then we will then resource it. To say that an ACTION bus service, a public bus service, must be cost neutral is an absolute nonsense.

I believe we have the best bus service in the country, and we want to keep it that way by giving it political freedom. Take it out of the hands of a minister who put it out for tender and actually enshrine it. Mr Osborne's hysterical bleatings in the local magazine make absolutely no difference to me whatever.

Mr Osborne: Oh, come on Johnny.

MR HARGREAVES: You had your chance and you blew it.

Mr Osborne: That is just not true.

MR HARGREAVES: You blew it.

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