Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5080 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
off it can now no longer get off the bus at the end of their street. The people who have to normally walk a kilometre now have to walk nearly two kilometres, Mr Speaker, from the next bus stop, which is outside Copland College.
Do you know why they closed that bus stop, Mr Speaker? That bus stop has been there for as long as I can remember, and I have lived in Carlile Street for 12 years. It was suddenly decided that it had to be closed after they had put in a cement pad about three weeks before because it was not wheelchair accessible. Mr Speaker, I don't know of anyone in my street or the surrounding areas who uses a wheelchair and uses the buses. I do know of disabled people who have other means of transport, but I do not know of anyone who uses the bus stop and uses a wheelchair. I stand to be corrected. It was considered that it had to be closed because it was not wheelchair accessible. Every person in Carlile Street, Brebner Street, Sayer Place and Canaway Place-all of those people-now have to walk an extra kilometre if they are going to catch the bus.
What about the people who come home late at night? As one young constituent said to me today, "If I use the nightrider bus to come home after going out on Saturday night, I now have to walk from Copland College, without a footpath, in my platform shoes. I am not going to use the bus."There are many people who are saying it has become impossible for them to use the bus. I can't let my children walk two kilometres when they get off the bus of an afternoon, as it might be getting dark; so they don't use the bus.
This is the service in the suburbs that this government is providing. This is replicated all over the place, Mr Speaker. This self-congratulatory pre-election foray by Mr Hargreaves and Mr Corbell should be recognised for what it is and should be condemned.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (11.57): Mr Speaker, I welcome this motion by Mr Hargreaves. The provision of services is a fundamental responsibility of government, and this government has consistently committed itself to providing efficient and effective services to all Canberrans. The government is building a community that is inclusive of all Canberrans and is committed to protecting the vulnerable and supporting those in need.
On that basis, we consider the provision of government services to suburban Canberra, indeed across Canberra, to be important. This includes mainstream human services, such as schools, hospitals and community health centres, but it also includes public transport services and a vast array of urban services vital to keep the city functional.
It also includes services to the disadvantaged-housing, disability, community services, drug and alcohol treatments. When we examined disadvantage across the ACT, as part of our addressing disadvantage project, we found there was a need for services to operate across the ACT rather than simply in regional centres. This is not to deny that regional services remain important.
As all members of the Assembly will appreciate, the delivery of government services costs millions of dollars, and balancing the budget to provide high-quality services is a difficult task for any government. That is why this government has taken the innovative step of developing a long-term strategic vision for Canberra. The Canberra Plan, which is