Page 2218 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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The forum included presentations and general discussions by a panel comprising University of Canberra researchers, a New South Wales police forensic pharmacologist, a member of the Victorian police traffic drug and alcohol unit, the ACT Human Rights Commissioner and an ACT government analytical laboratory and health-focused social researcher.

The government has listened to what the community have been saying about what they want from ACTION, and, as demonstrated through this budget, we are responding to meet their transport needs now and into the future. Nearly $50 million over four years will be provided to purchase 100 new, efficient, more accessible buses as part of ACTION’s bus fleet replacement program. The buses will be wheelchair accessible to better meet accessibility requirements for Canberrans with disabilities. The delivery of the 100 new buses will meet the government’s commitment to have 55 per cent of the fleet wheelchair accessible by 2012. Currently, 25 per cent of ACTION buses meet disability standards under the DDA, and this is the targeted level for December 2007 under the act.

Since 2002, the government has provided $22.84 million towards ACTION’s fleet replacement program. Some 54 new wheelchair-accessible compressed natural gas buses and 20 new wheelchair-accessible diesel buses have been introduced into the fleet. In addition, $8 million has been provided for 16 MAN, low-floor CNG buses, with delivery commencing very, very soon. ACTION will also receive an additional $12.95 million over four years to implement network 08. This is in addition to the funding provided in the 2007-08 budget second appropriation of $22 million over four years from 2008-09.

The budget for municipal services and for transport initiatives for 2008-09 and the ensuing three years contains significant funding. It is a provision which will put us in good stead to move forward. Not only have we looked after our existing infrastructure, but we have made provision for infrastructure into the future. I commend this budget to the Assembly.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.03): I would like to echo the point made by Mr Mulcahy that, in many ways, this is a very important aspect of the budget which often goes unnoticed and uncommented on. It is important because it affects every one of our constituents every day in the quality of their roads, the quality of their footpaths and the quality of most of the services that people deal with on a regular basis. Before the minister leaves, I want to issue a couple of bouquets in particular and to echo the comments made by other members in relation to the rapidity with which the minister and the department respond when we take up constituent issues about potholes, the quality of footpaths and things like this.

I had cause during the estimates process to raise specifically with the minister an occasion when I had raised with him a matter of footpaths and it seemed that it had fallen through the cracks. I had written to him some time ago about the state of the footpaths in Boult Place and Chinner Street around the Melba shops, because it was raised with me on a visit there. I had written to the minister and, for some reason, I was assured that work was going to happen and it did not happen.

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