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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2357 ..



Mr Speaker, with respect to things that I say: I've got no problem with standing up and copping it if people don't like it. But I will exhort members of this place to quote me properly, in context, not selectively quote me or misquote me and not use their skill-developed in this place by the former Chief Minister and now senator, Gary Humphries-of selectively quoting news of their own work. It belittles this place.

Mr Speaker, I find any suggestion that I don't have an awful lot of sympathy for those kids at Lake Tuggeranong College, or the people in Kambah, grossly offensive, and I take serious exception to it.


(9.04): With reference to the appropriations that we are dealing with for the Department of Urban Services: I do believe that the government has taken a few positive steps to improve infrastructure to promote cycling and walking but, unfortunately, public transport has been sorely neglected and there is still far too much money being spent on roads compared with the combined spending on alternative transport.

I am astonished that this government, which professes to be committed to public transport, appears to be intending to cut scheduled bus services in the coming year. Whilst there is money going into ACTION for the new services in Gungahlin, in the outyears the funding for ACTION actually drops. I hope that some of the revenue received that exceeds expectations will be directed to increasing the frequency of bus services, making our public transport system more attractive and encouraging more Canberrans to truly understand the pluses of buses.

Roads is another area where far too much money has been rolled over from last year. Once again, it looks like consistently poor project management or it indicates a cynical way of appearing to deliver to the community at budget time and asking for a pat on the back at the end of the financial year when a surplus is returned because the promised services or infrastructure have not been delivered.

When I was participating in the Estimates Committee there was some discussion about just how far behind schedule the capital works program for the 2002-03 budget was and the need to follow through on commitments and to get the infrastructure and capital works rolling in this city.

On an equity issue: I note the rising revenue from short-term vehicle registrations. I find it hard to believe that the $25 administrative fee for the purchase of a short-term vehicle registration sticker does not represent profiteering at the expense of residents who are least able to afford the impost. Clearly, nearly everyone would opt for a year long vehicle registration if they could find the money. It is people who cannot find the money who are being slugged an extra $100 a year, and that isn't fair.

Also in relation to registration: I do have concerns about continuous registration and the introduction of such. The Estimates Committee discusses that in depth on pages 56 and 57 of its report. The concerns are, as the committee report does say, that the assumption is being made that those people who have not paid their registration are continuing to drive their cars unregistered, which I believe is not always the case.

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