Page 2593 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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I have to say it is the hardest area of government business. There is a shortage of social workers and psychologists across the country—indeed, across the world. There is a whole range of areas where psychologists and social workers can choose to work, one of which is care and protection. The other obvious area is in the health system, and people are making those choices. We cannot force people to come, and just because they are a social worker and they apply to work for the ACT government they have to work in care and protection. People make these decisions for themselves.

I should also say that in 2004 we had, I think, about 35 or 36 care and protection workers. We have now got 88. We have double what we had. We have double because we have increased our resources in care and protection by 87 per cent since coming to government—again another one of my areas where we have responded to the chronic underfunding and systemic problems that you guys left, that you guys were responsible for.

We have responded. We have got double the staff dealing with these issues. We want to get it to 110. That is where we are going. That is why we have gone overseas, and that is why we will continue to run recruitment programs locally, nationally and, if we need to, internationally.

ACTION bus service—network

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services in his capacity as minister for transport. Minister, the government introduced ACTION’s network 08 on 2 June, with an objective of achieving significant improvement in the quality of service to Canberra’s travelling public. Can you outline to the Assembly what outcomes have been achieved since 2 June?

MR HARGREAVES: I acknowledge Mr Gentleman’s continuing interest in matters of transport in the ACT. ACTION and the ACT government are committed to building a better bus service for the Canberra community. Following a comprehensive review of ACTION’s bus services, ACTION introduced its new network on 2 June 2008.

ACTION is introducing network 08 in two phases, due to the need to recruit more bus drivers to accommodate the requirements of the new network. Phase 1 has Monday to Friday bus routes and services. In this phase, ACTION will continue to deliver its current network’s weekend bus services. As part of the changes to the weekday routes, an upgrade of school bus routes was conducted. As a result, there have been a number of modifications to school bus services. These changes were advised to all affected schools and are also posted on ACTION’s website.

ACTION has received approximately 1,200 emails from customers regarding the new bus network. All feedback is being considered by ACTION’s scheduling and customer service teams, and travel solutions and options are being provided to customers.

Following this feedback, ACTION has introduced a number of immediate changes. Examples of immediate changes are: route 25/225 has now been redirected to service

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