Page 1553 - Week 04 - Thursday, 29 March 2012

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MS GALLAGHER: Again, this is something we are very conscious of. We are on target to have 80 per cent of our fleet with bike racks on, I think by July this year. I think we are at about 70 per cent now. There is an issue with a couple of the buses, the steer-tag bus in particular, which is too long, essentially, to put them on; it creates problems when turning corners. But there are benefits from the steer-tag buses as well; they carry more people. I think that 80 per cent is more than any other jurisdiction is near achieving, so we should also recognise that we have done pretty well.

The other area is looking at where steer-tag buses operate so that we can maximise the bike racks on the routes where we know that they are needed. Again we are in discussions with, I think, a couple of ACTION commuters at the moment about how that could work. And of course we have got the fantastic new bike-and-ride facilities operating across the city, with more coming on line as well. That is part of the solution. The bike racks can only take a couple of bikes anyway.

I think that some commuters would like us to reassess our position on bikes on the buses, but that is probably a bit more of a challenging discussion to have with the drivers, the unions and other commuters.

In partnership, with 80 per cent of the fleet with bike racks and more bike-and-rides being put in place around the network, we are going a long way to addressing the needs of cyclists who are wanting to use the buses. But transport for Canberra shows that there is much more to be done.

Domestic Animal Services—sale of dogs

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, the TAMS website, in the area headed “Purchasing a dog from the DAS shelter”, outlines the procedures involved when a citizen wants to purchase a dog. It invites the purchaser to visit the shelter and view the dogs being housed there. It says the purchaser can get to know a dog by playing with it in the exercise yard. Minister, is it usual practice for staff at the shelter to quiz prospective purchasers about their financial capacity to look after a dog? If so, why, and why is this not outlined on the DAS shelter webpage?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. My understanding is that there are a range of questions that are asked of potential dog owners. Indeed these are similar questions to the ones that are asked at the RSPCA if you purchase a dog from there. It is around the capacity to care for an animal and pointing out to people that caring for animals comes with additional costs.

I think that DAS and the RSPCA do an extraordinary job in re-homing dogs across the city—again, the highest re-homing rate in the country. Part of that has to be down to making sure that the matching up of the animal with the new owner is a thorough process whereby all of the challenges and benefits of owning an animal are drawn to people’s attention prior to that transaction occurring.

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