Page 2595 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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Where possible, ACTION is rescheduling buses to meet demand. For example, we have needed to reschedule articulated buses to the morning and afternoon services on the express route 703 from Fraser to Barton.

Phase 2 will see the full introduction of network 08, providing the same bus routes seven days a week, as soon as we have enough bus drivers to staff the bus routes. Network 08 is really good news for the travelling public.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, I note the government commenced yesterday its gold card initiative to provide free travel on ACTION services for Canberrans 75 years of age and older. Are you able to report on how this initiative has been received by older Canberrans?

MR HARGREAVES: Again I acknowledge Mr Gentleman’s continued interest in this. I note that there is a distinct disinterest from those people across the chamber in the gold pass, even though I think some of them may very well be eligible to get one! Those members opposite ought to listen to this, because this is an initiative of the Stanhope Labor government which their grandchildren will be talking about. They will not be talking about them, because they will not have been introduced, but, nonetheless, they will be talking about this initiative.

I am pleased to announce to you, Mr Speaker, that on the first day of this initiative ACTION recorded 102 trips by gold card holders taking advantage of free bus travel. That is 102 trips on day one. How about them apples! You like that one, don’t you, Mr Pratt? He is lining up in the queue to get his bus pass. Good on you, sunshine!

Mr Speaker, get this—members of the opposition are not going to like this bit either, but that is bad luck—on the first day of the initiative, 572 ACTION gold cards were issued at Canberra Connect shopfronts. How about that? According to my calculations, that is about 2½ to three times the total of the entire membership of the Liberal Party in the ACT in one day! I reckon that was something brilliant.

ACTION is receiving extremely positive feedback regarding the free bus travel for older Canberrans. We committed $500,000 over four years towards this initiative. Any Canberran who is 75 years of age or older can apply for an ACTION gold card, which will give them access to ACTION services any time of the day free of charge for the rest of their days. Providing free travel demonstrates the government’s commitment to encourage older Canberrans to continue to lead active lives.

The gold card is linked to the existing older drivers awareness program, where it is recommended that drivers over the age of 75 consider their driving circumstances. However, Mr Speaker, there is no requirement to relinquish a licence—it is not a requisite.When eventually that day rolls around for you, Mr Speaker, when you can line up for the gold card, you may maintain your forklift licence, if that is your wont. We will have no call upon your licence at all.

What we would like to do, however, is encourage drivers over the age of 75 to consider surrendering their licences. They may not be capable of driving on the roads,

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