Page 3791 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008
With respect to public transport, what have Labor done to promote more sustainable transport in the ACT? In 2006, they slashed and burned the ACTION bus network. Every other city in the world invests in its mass transit systems to reduce traffic congestion and lower the environmental impact of commuter journeys, but not Labor in the ACT. And so badly did they do it that they were forced to reconsider and restore some funding in 2008, but still not to a sustainable level. Many routes are still operating below their original frequencies and passenger dissatisfaction persists. How are we going to attract people to get out of their cars and catch public transport, and therefore make a real commitment to sustaining our environment, if the government simply wreck public transport and cannot even restore it to pre-2006 levels?
With respect to transport futures, what about the longer term? Only last week, we saw their rebadged “integrated transport plan”. It is a nice document but lacking in new ideas and initiatives. Some time ago, they toyed with the idea of light rail—as long as someone else was prepared to pay for it. But serious consideration of it has not been given. I recall a year ago, in the ABC studios, debating with Mr Hargreaves about transport futures. He absolutely pooh-poohed the idea of light rail and had no other statements to make about other possible transport futures, other alternative fuel options. He had no idea, he pooh-poohed the idea; he shot down Dr Foskey and me in that studio because we dared to talk about analysing the concept and at least doing a feasibility study. So there you go: no vision, bereft of ideas. Where is the vision to try and really get in there and sustain our environment?
Consideration of the city’s broader transport needs and options into the future has been lacking. It is all too hard. Sustainability comes a distant second to political expediency in the Labor mentality. What about water capture on public buildings? Mr Gentleman talked today about water initiatives. He has made a big play about that, yet we still see no sign of innovative, imaginative, relatively cheap initiatives to capture rainwater run-off and perhaps trickle-feed green spaces and gardens in close proximity to our public buildings. It is a relatively cheap initiative but they cannot even get that right.
The MPI refers to “working together to maintain a sustainable environment”. What about the Tuggeranong power station fiasco? How much working together was there over the eight-month period when this government and ActewAGL were sneaking beneath the radar on the Tuggeranong power station project? And don’t tell us that the Labor Party did not know about the intention to put that power station in place. Do I need to remind you, Mick, about the Tuggeranong Valley Labor Party branch meeting where this very issue was discussed way back in mid to late 2007? If people in the party knew about this initiative, why didn’t the government talk to the community? Working together with the community—I don’t think so. Comrades over constituents, Mr Speaker; that is the mentality in this governing party.
How committed to a sustainable environment were the government when they offered a site 600 metres from Macarthur for a 210-megawatt power station? That is bloody hypocrisy. You talk about a sustainable environment but you wanted to put a 210-megawatt power station 600 metres from residential sites. How committed were the government in allowing, without intervention, the flawed ActewAGL plume study to justify the decision to site a power station near Macarthur? There was not even a comment from this government that perhaps that was not a very good idea and that