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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 455 ..

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, this is a wonderful beginning to a sitting week! I have a supplementary question. I thank the Minister for his answer but I am not quite sure he understands. Minister, in the first instance, I am not a Liberal but an independent. So an independent asked you this question.

MR SPEAKER: Just get to the supplementary question please, Mrs Cross.

MRS CROSS: I will get to it. Minister, what is it exactly that you as a minister are doing to ensure that the future transport needs of Gungahlin are indeed a priority for your government and are not taking a backseat to the inner-north of Canberra?

MR CORBELL: The suggestion in the question is simply false, Mr Speaker. It might make good political rhetoric but it is simply not the case. As I have already indicated to Mrs Cross in my previous answer, the government has increased bus patronage in terms of the number of boardings by 22 per cent since the introduction of the single zone bus fare structure.

Mrs Cross: You have just come out saying that the inner-north is going to be your focus for light rail.

MR CORBELL: I do not know whether your heard my answer, Mrs Cross, but I have just informed you-let me spell it out-that the government has not made any decisions about light rail. We have not decided on a route, we have not decided on an alignment, we have not even decided whether or not it should happen. But what we have decided to do is make it clear, first, that all the technologies are on the table; and secondly, the community needs to have discussion about this. That is the approach we are adopting. There are benefits in an inner-city light rail. Clearly there are benefits based on the initial-and I have to stress "initial"-analysis because of the employment location, because of the number of trips that that employment location can generate. But it is not the be all and the end all. The government does not for a moment believe that light rail is the be all and the end all.

The suggestion, of course, is that Gungahlin is poorly served by public transport when in fact there are over 75 route services a day from all the Gungahlin suburbs to Civic and a significant number of other services to Belconnen, Russell and a range of other locations. So public transport is improving in Gungahlin, and the fare structure is more attractive. This government has put an additional 200 services into Gungahlin since we came to office. That is the priority we give to Gungahlin-an additional 200 services and a flat fare structure which has seen boardings increase by 22 per cent. If Mrs Cross thinks that we are not emphasising Gungahlin, I would ask her to go and look at those facts for a start.

Birrigai Outdoor Education Centre-reconstruction

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Minister for Education. Minister, will you advise the Assembly about when the government will commence the reconstruction of the Birrigai Outdoor Education Centre, as well as confirm the future of important education programs undertaken at Birrigai, which I understand benefit around 10,000 primary school children each year?

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