Page 1663 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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prepared for a bushfire disaster than we were in January 2003. All the expert opinion has been ignored; all the community concern has been ignored. By God, have we seen that during the emergency services inquiry!

Worse still, the government have ignored their own election promises. We still have no replacement for FireLink, which cost over $5 million, due to the lack of ministerial oversight on the part of three consecutive ministers. The relocation of the headquarters is still a shambles. Some two years after it was really planned to transfer out of Curtin, there is still nothing to show for it.

What about the strategic bushfire management plan? After three years, version 2 is still overdue. If it has been printed, the question now is: has it been established as an authentic, confirmed document or will it still continue to be a draft document, discussion paper, as was the case for so long?

Let me turn to sustainable transport: buses. The ACT has a failed bus system that has taken two steps back and one step forward as a result of the hatchet job done on ACTION in 2006-07. This government has no credible record on public transport and it is doubtful that network 08 resolves the main issue of poor patronage. What we need is a safe, reliable, frequent bus service that entices people out of their cars, something Mr Stanhope has continually failed to do.

We do see testament to this government’s focus on human rights and harm minimisation in this budget. We see a dedicated bus service for visitors to the new “Hilton hotel” for prisoners on the Monaro Highway, at a cost of $70,000. This is the government that can provide a bus service to the prison, but it took two years to provide a bus service directly to the Canberra Eye Hospital. And we are still waiting for an adequate service to and from our international airport. What a disgrace! Where are this government’s priorities? I will tell you where they are.

There is no forward planning for parking in the territory. I am now looking at parking. Instead we see a policy that forces people out of their cars onto an inadequate road system. The draft ACT parking strategy strongly advocates the reduction of car parks in the ACT. That will solve the problem? I do not think so. Then, contrary to that, we see a piecemeal parking plan for the precinct north of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. There is no vision here for a sustainable public parking infrastructure.

We see approximately $530,000 earmarked in the budget for some park and ride, but does this allow for only new surface parking space? How much surface parking space do we have available in our town centres and our group centres where we might develop the very badly needed park and ride infrastructure? I do not see $530,000 catering for the infrastructure that needs to be developed if the government is serious about decentralised park and ride services.

Until we can entice drivers out of their cars onto a convenient, comfortable and safe bus service, we are not going to increase bus patronage beyond seven per cent. Therefore we will still have the severe impacts on both our road system and our environment. Until we meet that critical mass, that critical tipping point, where we can entice people to leave their cars, at least in decentralised park and ride centres,

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