Page 91 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006
Wednesday, 15 February 2006
MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Sustainable transport plan and ACTION Buses
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.33): I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) recognises the demonstrated commitment of the ACT Government to the Sustainable Transport Plan;
(2) acknowledges the continuing growth in adult patronage, resulting from initiatives developed and implemented by the ACT Government; and
(3) congratulates drivers and employees of ACTION buses for their commitment to the provision of efficient and sustainable transport in the ACT.
In recent months Canberra’s commuters have been enjoying the results of this government’s commitment to sustainable transport. In fact, Wednesday, 8 February saw yet another record for adult patronage on the ACTION bus network—23,148 passengers in one day! This is an absolutely remarkable achievement and can be attributed almost exclusively to two particular reasons. The first is the drastic increase in petrol prices in recent times. The second is the ACT government’s absolute dedication to developing economic, practical and viable transport alternatives to the car.
This government has introduced many initiatives, but initially I will concentrate on increased petrol prices as a contributing factor to increased patronage. As members will no doubt be aware, the demand for global oil consistently outstrips the supply of oil. If we compare the reserves in global oilfields with estimates of future oil consumption, we see that demand will outstrip supply in the future. Even people with limited economic knowledge understand that this means we will continue to pay more for our petrol. But the global situation is not the only reason the consumer price we are currently experiencing has risen to such a harsh level. The added burden of a 38c per litre petrol excise unfairly adds to the increasing difficulty of running a car for private purposes.
Last year, in response to rising petrol prices, the NRMA organised a summit to discuss measures to reduce the financial burden on Australian motorists. This forum was arranged to discuss a variety of proposals, but the Howard government became concerned that they were being pressured into giving up their revenue raiser, fuel excise, and declined to attend the summit. I accept that international market forces predominantly determine petrol prices and that there is not a great deal individual policymakers can do to affect their levels. But when a government are provided with an opportunity to at least discuss options for relief, I believe they have a responsibility to do so. The Howard government has shied away from this responsibility, and I think members would agree that that is not unusual behaviour.