Page 2570 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005
on that public transport feasibility study—if that figure is wrong, I am sure Mr Corbell will correct me and I will stand corrected—he basically ignored it. Almost everything in it was ignored because the whole tenor and all the logical conclusions of that document were that he really needed to go with light rail.
The minister really needs to have some courage to do something about light rail. What we have seen here is a sort of halfway approach of “We will come up with a busway, which is very expensive and will not do anything particularly and which will not attract users. If people start to use it some time in the never-never, then we will spend a whole lot more money and convert it to light rail.” This is what they will do instead of having the courage of their convictions and going out in the first instance and doing something about light rail. Otherwise, they are not bothering.
Mr Corbell: Where was your promise for light rail, Mrs Dunne?
MRS DUNNE: In the election, Mr Corbell. You were not game to do it.
Mr Corbell: No promise at all. Your promise was for a study.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Mr Corbell! And Mrs Dunne, don’t bait him.
MRS DUNNE: I had not realised that our running on time statistics were so good. I had a wicked thought that this would make Mr Corbell the Mussolini of the ACT but then I realised that that was, even for me, too harsh a comment to make.
But the thing is that we are now having real time. We are going to spend $3 million dollars this year and an ongoing amount in the outyears. Last year we spent some money on some feasibility for real-time bus information. If timeliness is running at 99.89 per cent, why do you need real-time bus information when you could be spending the money in better ways? The thing that will increase patronage more than anything is frequency, is headway, and this government will not do that.
There are many things that this government has failed to do. We are still seeing great community discontent over changes to core areas in the major suburbs, and especially in the inner north and inner south. I hope that Mr Corbell’s trips overseas have convinced him of what most people in Canberra already know, that is, that what he proposes to do will seriously tamper with the garden city. When he was in opposition he was the great advocate of garden cities. He spent a lot of time talking about how garden cities in Canberra were under threat and were an endangered species. He referred to the concerns of the national trust and said that he was going out there to uphold the objectives of the national trust. He said that he was going to play hell with a stick and ensure that the garden city character of Canberra was maintained. Of course, he still likes to talk about it and look at what happens elsewhere but this is all undermined when it comes to actual policy.
The A10 guidelines have been roundly and consistently opposed by the Liberal opposition and the crossbenches in this place, along with the community. But Mr Corbell will persist with them. He is trying to keep a low profile by not publishing any guidelines that will show what a fraud the whole situation is. But at the same time he is getting himself into trouble because, as Mr Seselja has pointed out, he made a commitment and