Page 1207 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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ACTION and the government are continuing to ensure that public transport is a safe, viable option to consider. The government provided $445,000 in the 2007-08 budget to complete the fitting of closed-circuit television to all ACTION buses. CCTV deters violent and criminal activity and provides a safer environment for ACTION’s drivers and commuters. ACT Seniors Week is a great opportunity for our older Canberrans to trial ACTION’s buses at no cost, and I encourage them to do so.

Some of the other initiatives for seniors with ACTION include the fact that the Stanhope Labor government has a tangible commitment, as I have said, to supporting ACT seniors. The government identified a need to provide a more flexible service to older Canberrans and members of the community who have difficulty accessing existing public transport. In October last year the Chief Minister announced the introduction of community on-demand minibus services for older Canberrans and Canberrans who have mobility problems and who find it hard to use regular bus services, as well as an extension of concession rates for Canberra’s seniors to allow them to travel in peak periods on ACTION buses at concession rates. A supplementary community wheelchair-accessible minibus service will be introduced for older Canberrans and Canberrans who have difficulty in accessing ACTION’s bus services.

The Stanhope government has allocated $289,000 for the minibus service for 2007-08, and an average of $614,000 per annum for the following three years. ACTION will provide and maintain the six wheelchair-accessible minibuses for regional community services, with funding of $50,000 per annum to be provided for driver costs. The on-demand minibus service will be operated by regional community services and will fill an identified gap in the transport system by providing an alternative, affordable and flexible transport option for seniors and those with mobility difficulties. ACTION has been working closely with regional community service organisations and the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services to develop the on-demand service. It is expected that this service will commence within the next few months.

All ACT seniors are now able to access concession fares during the peak period on presentation of their ACT seniors card. This means a saving of 50 per cent on adult fares. Prior to October, ACT seniors without an aged pension were only able to use concession bus fares in the off-peak period. All ACT seniors card holders are able to travel on ACTION buses at a discount rate throughout the day.

The ACT government recognises that our older citizens are very active, and by extending concession fares we hope that more seniors will be encouraged to travel on ACTION buses throughout the day. Currently, seniors who do not have an entitlement to other concessions are able to travel in the off-peak times using an off-peak daily ticket. At other times, these seniors are required to pay a full adult fare. These two government initiatives assist older Canberrans to use public transport and demonstrate the government’s commitment to older Canberrans.

MR SPEAKER: When members wish to plead for me to stop the clock, it would add to the standing of this place if they rose in their places and put an argument as to why

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