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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 474 ..

MR CORBELL: Indeed, Mr Speaker, if you live in Amaroo then having to pay twice to get to Civic is, I would suggest, a very real imposition-an imposition placed by the previous Liberal government on people who live in suburbs like Amaroo, where it is cheaper to drive your car to Civic and pay for parking than it is to catch a bus.

Mr Quinlan: They didn't know there were people living there.

MR CORBELL: Mr Quinlan interjects, "Perhaps that is because they don't know that people live in Amaroo." That may be the case. But we certainly know that people live in Amaroo, Ngunnawal, Nicholls, Condor and Banks and all the other distant parts of our city from Civic. We are very concerned to make sure that people who live in outer areas get better access to public transport and that is why we are committed to abolishing the unfair and discriminatory zonal bus fare system.

So I do not accept for a moment that having a single bus fare system will unfairly discriminate against low income earners. Indeed, I would argue that it is exactly the reverse.

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, I am puzzled because it sounds like you don't agree with the brief from the department. What advice has your department provided regarding your intention to change to single-zone timed bus fares? Can you confirm that such a change would cause an estimated revenue loss of $1.7 million annually? Can you also confirm that this represents an average fare increase of about 17 per cent, or 40c per trip?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I have received all that advice from the department. As members would be aware, that was advice provided to the incoming government, without any discussion with this government before it was provided. I think that is a very important point to make in respect of all these questions that we are going to receive on incoming government briefs.

These are not briefs prepared following discussion with ministers. Indeed, quite the reverse. These are briefs prepared without any discussion with ministers and reflect the public service's best possible understanding of the issues raised by the incoming government, along with other issues that they believe the incoming government should be aware of.

Mr Speaker, in that context the public service has raised with me the figures that Mrs Cross quotes. The government is currently considering its options in relation to providing the single-zone bus fare and the opposition should not for a moment go out and argue that it will mean a significant increase in fares or the sort of loss necessarily that Mrs Cross alludes to.

The government will look at all of its options and will decide on the most appropriate process and the most appropriate structure to introduce its election commitment-a commitment designed to redress the grossly unfair and discriminatory nature of the zonal bus fare system imposed on the community by the ACT Liberals.

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