Page 2866 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 24 June 2009

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creating tension between students and the drivers who are required to enforce the concession arrangements. However, the ACT is the only jurisdiction where tertiary students are eligible for a school fare. All other jurisdictions require tertiary students to pay a concession fare.

Concession fares are provided to ACT residents who hold a Centrelink pension concession card, healthcare card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs gold card, holders of a seniors card issued by an Australian state or territory, a person who attends a primary school, secondary school or college or, finally, a person attending a tertiary institution full time. A concession fare is set at 50 per cent of the adult fare. The government believes that these concession arrangements provide adequate and appropriate support for those most in need in the community.

From 1 July the government proposes that concession fares for full-time ACT tertiary students will bring the ACT in line with other jurisdictions. ACT tertiary students will pay the same bus fare as other low income earners. The fare increase has been applied to ensure that customers’ contribution to the bus service is maintained.

It is a well-recognised principle in public transport planning that there is an element of cost recovery as part of a public transport system. Passengers currently contribute around 20 per cent of the cost of running ACTION through the payment of fares. This is an approach which puts the ACT at one of the lowest levels of cost recovery of any jurisdiction in the country. It is also important to note that the government has not increased fares for bus services since the 2006-07 financial year.

Since that time, ACTION’s costs have increased, and the fare box recovery rate has fallen. In 2006-07 the fare box recovery rate was 21.5 per cent. This financial year it is around 20 per cent. Without an increase in the level of fares, the fare box recovery rate will fall further. ACTION’s fare box recovery is the lowest in Australia. In addition, ACTION fares have increased at a slower rate than bus fares in any other capital city since 2001.

The government has adopted a prudent, cautious and conservative approach when it comes to increases in bus fares and this is backed up by the figures.

Mr Stanhope: It is 40c.

MR CORBELL: The increase of 11.3 per cent is based on movements in the wage price index in the 2007-09 period and the forecast wage price index for 2009-10. As the Chief Minister makes the point, we are talking about an increase of 40c. It is 40c, Madam Assistant Speaker.

Mr Coe can try to portray it in whatever dramatic terms he likes but at the end of the day it is 40c. It is 40c. Madam Assistant Speaker, let me assure you that the government has a strong commitment to creating a more sustainable public transport system. The government has introduced a number of significant investments to encourage Canberrans, including tertiary students, to use public transport.

For example, in July 2002 the government abolished the previous government’s unfair, discriminatory and expensive multizone fare structure, introducing instead a single

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