Page 76 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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At this stage we await with genuine interest the outcomes of the bid that we have made to Infrastructure Australia, the commonwealth, for funding support, and the extent to which we can continue alone or in partnership in relation to light rail will, of course, be dependent very much on the response of the commonwealth to the bids that we have made to it for infrastructure support.

I don’t think any of us doubt the need for us to continue to improve public transport, to continue to attract people to public transport. Since the rollout of our latest improvements to the network, there has been a seven-plus per cent increase in patronage on ACTION. That would, I think, constitute probably the greatest single spike in patronage of public transport since self-government. In the context of the last four months, there has been a 7.4 per cent increase in patronage, and that is a significant spike in our public transport patronage, but of course coming from a base of just eight per cent. That represents the challenge that we all know about here in the ACT, in a city built for the car: we all acknowledge the importance of public transport in dealing with climate change, but at this point only eight per cent of us regularly catch the bus.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Did the previous or present transport minister see the finalised light rail business case prior to it being sent to Infrastructure Australia and can the minister please table in the Assembly the document that was sent to Infrastructure Australia?

MR STANHOPE: The government—or the Assembly—was in caretaker mode at the time that the first draft of the light rail study was received. It was not referred to the government. It was not referred to the minister or to me. It was, pursuant to requests from the commonwealth in relation to its time lines in determining or considering or giving consideration to applications under the infrastructure fund, referred directly to the commonwealth by the Under Treasurer without reference to the government, and I believe that was appropriate.

My regret, I guess—and the difficulty that the government faces in relation to that—is that it was a draft document that had not been completed, that had not received any assessment by the ACT government in terms of the work that was constituted in the draft. It was a first draft report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Because of commonwealth time lines, the Under Treasurer took the decision, without reference to the government, to refer the document, the draft, to the commonwealth, and indeed the final report has not yet been submitted to the government. I am hopeful that it will be submitted to the government sooner rather than later. I have had some indications that it may be over this next two weeks. If it is, I am more than happy to provide the final report to members of the Assembly, and indeed to the public, when received. But at this stage it is a document that the government has not yet received as a final and on which of course in that sense the government does not have a view.

Hospitals—bed occupancy rates

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the bed occupancy rate for acute overnight beds in Canberra’s public hospitals, as stated in the

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