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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3662 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

business day when the government has been caught out, it feels the need to impose its imprint on what is going on by omitting all words and substituting something else.

In this case, the Chief Minister proposes to substitute the original words. What is the point? In a sense it is lazy. It is too hard to say, "insert after"or "delete paragraph". I take the Chief Minister's point. I am gratified that the ACT government is now making a submission to the Parry inquiry. I wonder when they decided to do it. I would like to hear from the Chief Minister whether it was today that he decided to do that or whether he has been doing it for some time. I hope he has been doing it for some time.

I am quite happy to note that the Chief Minister has already written to Bob Carr on this matter. But this is not what the motion is about. We are not here for the gratification of Jon Stanhope and the Labor Party; we are here for the people of the ACT. I will not support the deletion of the paragraph that was in the original motion calling on the Chief Minister to write again to the New South Wales government.

It is paramount that at the end of this debate the New South Wales government knows the views of this Assembly and the people of the ACT about what it is proposing to do. It is imperative that this Chief Minister write to his counterpart in New South Wales and to the Minister for Transport Services, Mr Costa, who in this infamous affair has been remarkably silent.

I am pretty relaxed about the wording, one way or the other, of the last two paragraphs. No-actually, I am not. He substitutes "calls on the ACT government to secure a service level agreement"with "notes that we have been doing it for 31/2 years". For 31/2 years we have been trying to get a service-level agreement, and look at the level of service we have got-diminishing every day. There is nothing to be very proud about.

We should not be patting ourselves on the back, puffing out our chests and saying, "We've been working really hard for 31/2 years, and we have failed."We need to be better than that. The Liberal opposition will not support paragraph (6) of Mr Stanhope's amendment. Although there is a similarity between paragraph (7) of his amendment and our paragraph (7), our paragraph (7) is stronger. We need to send a message to the New South Wales government that the people of Canberra, Goulburn and the Southern Highlands need that trip to Sydney in the morning and need to be able to come back in the afternoon.

This is not just about us. This is about the Australian capital region and the services that are provided to the Australian capital region. The Treasurer, in his-as the Leader of the Opposition calls it-yellowing white paper, is always talking about the Australian capital region. But when it actually comes to doing a small thing for the Australian capital region, they do not want to do it.

They do not want to push the view that the people of Canberra require a service to Sydney in the morning and another one back in the afternoon, so that the elderly ladies who want to go and visit their sons on the Central Coast can get a connection in Sydney and get there in one day. This is what we are asking for and, if this Chief Minister is not prepared to do it, shame on him.

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