Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3021 ..
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, point of order.
Mrs Dunne: I think Ms MacDonald is asking the minister for an expression of opinion.
Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, whether or not the minister was surprised is a simple fact. It is not an opinion. There is no point of order.
MR SPEAKER: Ms MacDonald would you repeat the supplementary?
Mr Cornwell: Has Mr Hargreaves taken over your job, sir?
MR SPEAKER: No, I can manage.
MS MacDONALD: I would be happy to rephrase the question.
Mr Smyth: That is an admission that it is out of order.
MS MacDONALD: No.
MR SPEAKER: Order. You are not entitled to ask for an opinion. Would you repeat the question for me, please.
MS MacDONALD: Okay. The question was: does the minister find it surprising that members of this place continue to talk down the public transport system?
MR SPEAKER: I think the supplementary question is in order.
MR CORBELL: The Liberals must feel a bit sore on this point, because this is the system that they canned before the last election. They said that it would not do anything for public transport in Canberra. I note that the shadow minister is stunned into silence when it comes to these figures.
Despite the increase in patronage, the increase in services and the increases in revenue, there are still unfortunately some members of this Assembly who choose to use ACTION as a political whipping boy. A brochure has been distributed by Ms Dundas which claims that ACTION is unsafe, is too expensive and does not provide enough services and that its passengers are exposed to the elements. She is claiming that ACTION's patronage is falling. Indeed, she is wrong. Patronage is increasing.
Indeed, at the same time that total ACTION patronage increased by over 3 per cent, national public transport patronage has fallen by a similar percentile, so we are bucking the national trend when it comes to public transport patronage.
Ms Dundas is also claiming that ACTION's operational funding has been cut. Again, Mr Speaker, that is wrong. Since our election, Labor has increased the government's capital and recurrent investment in ACTION by $46.8 million, the largest investment in public transport in the past decade. That includes and $18 million increase in the funding base for ACTION and $8.8 million for the single zone fare system. How can Ms Dundas go out there and bag ACTION and say that there has been a decrease in the level of funding