Page 4424 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 November 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Stefaniak, that’s the last one.

MR CORBELL: It is no wonder that as far as many people in this community are concerned—

Mr Pratt: We won’t have to put after-burners on our buses.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Pratt.

MR CORBELL: they know that the Liberals are bad news when it comes to public transport. They know that the Liberals cut funding to ACTION, they put up fares, they do not replace the buses—they do nothing for public transport in Canberra.

Mr Seselja: What’s the saving? How many minutes?

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Seselja.

MR CORBELL: In contrast, this government has a comprehensive strategy. This government has a comprehensive program in place. It has a commitment to spending the money and it will continue on that course of improving public transport in Canberra.

MR SESELJA: I have a supplementary question. Minister, I note that you did not answer my question in almost five minutes. Why are spending millions of dollars in preparation for an expensive busway when you do not know whether it will save time or increase patronage?

MR CORBELL: I draw Mr Seselja’s attention to a document that was released before he was elected to this place. It is called the sustainable transport plan. Clearly, Mr Seselja has not read it, because if he had read it and if he had read the supporting documentation, including the public transport futures feasibility study and the examination of what are called elasticities or what are the demand factors and what are the supply factors in relation to public transport, he would have seen that a detailed investigation has already been done of what are the mechanisms we need to put in place to improve public transport usage in Canberra.

That document outlines very clearly that we have to increase and improve the reliability of public transport between our town centres and the city centre, that we need to guarantee rights of way between our town centres and the city centre, that we need to increase the frequency of service, and that we need to make sure that we provide facilities in terms of stations and interchanges as well as buses themselves which are reasonable for people to use and to enjoy.

Bus users are not second-class citizens. Bus users are not people to whom we should say, “You will get whatever is left over at the end of the day. Our main priority is people who use a car.” I know that that is a bit of a radical concept for those of the opposition to grasp but, if we want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and if we want to improve the sustainability of our city, we must invest in public transport to boost patronage and to increase usage.

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