Page 5162 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009

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It was interesting that he should challenge me to produce the evidence for the services to Defence. I do not have that with me in the chamber. However, we have done that analysis, and the analysis is pretty similar. I will tell you why the analysis is pretty similar: regardless of whether you are going to get a bus all the way through from the Gungahlin suburbs to the Gungahlin Marketplace or not, you are going to have a transfer time; you are going to have a connection time. It is that connection time at the Gungahlin Marketplace where the time is being consumed. Whether you are going on to Defence, Kingston or other parts of the parliamentary triangle—regardless of whether you are going from Nicholls, Ngunnawal, Amaroo or Forde—you are better off staying on your bus going into the city. Why? Because you do not have to wait around at Gungahlin Marketplace.

It is interesting that Mr Rattenbury should talk about the scenario whereby someone drives in at 8 o’clock; gets on the Redex; works the day in the city; leaves work, presumably at 5 o’clock; goes and does some shopping—every day: every day they go and do a bit of shopping—and then goes and picks up their kids from sport. Everyone is better off and this will benefit the after-hours traders in Gungahlin! How about we go out to the Gungahlin Marketplace and do a quick survey of how many of them are going to go and do the after-hours shopping and then go and pick up the kids straight after the old Redex? I think we would get some interesting statistics based on that.

Just last week we had the Greens and Labor wrongly accusing us of only being pro big business, pro big supermarkets. The only traders I am aware of that are not in hospitality but that are open after hours in Gungahlin Marketplace are Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. All of a sudden we have Labor and the Greens having a go at us for allegedly propping up these businesses at the expense of small businesses. Yet here they are spending a million dollars on a trial that they say is going to directly support Woolworths, Coles and Aldi at the Gungahlin Marketplace. It seems to me that there are some inconsistencies in their argument. They really are clutching at straws to try and prove that what they are clinging to is worth clinging to.

It seems to me that if a million dollars is going to be spent on ACTION buses, there are far better ways of doing it than the way that this government has proposed. If I had a million dollars to play with for ACTION bus services in Gungahlin, what I would do is this. Instead of having routes that go weaving around Nicholls, Ngunnawal, Amaroo and Forde, I would make those services more direct. They would be more direct. If you could increase the directness, make them more direct, you would increase patronage.

At the moment, it takes about 15 minutes to go from the Nicholls shops to Gungahlin Marketplace. To drive takes three or four minutes. You are taking three, four or five times as long as it takes in the car. That is the real impediment in the system. The real impediment to the ACTION bus system is not the intertown system—not between Gungahlin Marketplace and the city—but the winding routes which go around the suburbs. If you speak to anyone who is a regular commuter, they say that is the frustrating bit. The frustrating bit is when you can almost see where you want to go but you have got another five kilometres or so of weaving around every suburb but yours. That is where the problem is.

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