Page 5546 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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aims that were inherent in the establishment of Nightlink in other ways. It is not that we have just abandoned the issue or suggested that there is not an issue. We are looking at what we believe in the light of consumer response is a better way of expending the funds.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, when the government first saw a downward trend in the demand for Nightlink, what measures did the government take to improve public awareness and passenger numbers and ensure that those measures were being implemented?

MR STANHOPE: I do not know the full raft of the measures taken, Ms Bresnan, but I know that significant effort was put in, most particularly in seeking to engage with the Australian Hotels Association, and unfortunately unsuccessfully, to ensure that the Australian Hotels Association, through its members, kept up what we believed was its end of the bargain in relation to Nightlink. One of our disappointments has been the responsiveness of the association, and, indeed, of its members, in advocating the existence of Nightlink.

I regret that I do not have the number here, Ms Bresnan, but I will get it and provide it to you. But, at the end of the day, with a 53 per cent reduction in hirings, with a 51 per cent reduction in the number of people utilising the service, the cost per person in getting home those people who did continue to utilise it, of course, grew, consistent with the reduction in hirings, in numbers of people using the service and in the amount of the overall fare. I have seen the number, and it is stunningly high. The cost per person utilising Nightlink, at the end of the day, at the time that we pulled the plug, was enormous; it was simply unsustainable and could not be justified.

Mr Smyth: How much was it?

MR STANHOPE: I have just said that I do not know; I will get it. You should listen every now and again, instead of banging on with the nonsense that you bang on with.

Mr Smyth: You make so many claims that it’s good to hold you to account, Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: I am just explaining, you goose. I will get a response for you, Ms Bresnan.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Chief Minister, did the government undertake any evaluation of the effectiveness of the advertising of the service? If not, why not?

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take some advice on the nature of the assessments but, at the end of the day, yes, we did. I do not know whether it was internal or external but we certainly did take advice, whether it was internally generated or otherwise, on the extent to which the service was advertised or there was awareness

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