Page 280 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 2008

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I do not want to go into detail on other issues that the opposition feels ought to be looked at in relation to that area with respect to public transport, but I will say we do hear that bus drivers are also saying they are concerned about security around the bus interchange and Alinga Street on Friday and Saturday nights. Owners of large properties around the centre of Civic are also backing these concerns. They see a lot of evidence in this regard; their properties are damaged so often as to indicate there are major challenges. ACT police have certainly been able to increase their patrols in town, but they need assistance, and the assistance has to come from having a broader community safety policy that addresses the whole mosaic of intertwining issues that go to the heart of this question about that part of town.

I want to refer to bus interchange safety. Concerns have been expressed for two years that none of the bus interchanges are safe places for the bus-catching community, transport officers and bus drivers. Woden interchange and Civic interchange have been particularly highlighted in the feedback that the opposition has received from both the roundtable meeting and individual responses from bus drivers and frustrated ACTION transport officers. We have talked about that in this place. The government have said they are going to do something about the CCTV system. I do not believe the interchanges have been significantly upgraded since the middle of 2007, when this matter was debated here in some detail.

I will be very happy to stand corrected today by Minister Corbell or Minister Hargreaves and to hear that they have now embarked on putting a number of CCTV cameras into the interchanges. The minister for police indicated this week that they have commenced the CCTV implementation in and around some parts of Civic. That is fine, and we well understand the need for the government’s quarter-of-a-million-dollar program to get things rolling on the citywide CCTV system. That is a start, but it would still seem that the bus interchanges have been bypassed.

There are significant security problems in these two areas in particular—Woden and Civic bus interchanges. We should have had a full CCTV system implemented in these two priority areas, and we have not. I would lay London to a brick that we do not yet have complete CCTV systems in the four bus interchanges, particularly Woden and Civic, and I would be very glad to be corrected this afternoon, and to know that some measures have at least been taken to provide better security for patrons and bus drivers.

The situation at the interchanges is of quite serious concern. We are continually told that police patrols are not getting into Woden interchange often enough. We were told in May 2007 that the number of ACTION staff would be increased so that the interchanges are manned by more than one person after last light. We have all heard in this place about the number of incidents that have occurred—knife attacks on bus drivers, the kicking down of doors and the assault of ACTION officers in their bus interchange offices. We have heard those stories, and there have been too many of them for us to ignore the fact that there are clearly weaknesses in the security system.

I would love to know whether all of those areas have been completely addressed or whether we are simply partway into analysing them. If we are only partway into

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