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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 416 ..

that are disability discrimination act compliant. So there are more accessible buses in the network, with targets to further increase that.

ACTION has also, through the introduction of network 14, added 300 additional services a day to the network—300 extra runs that are available to Canberrans—to increase the frequency of the service that is available to them. ACTION has also introduced NXTBUS so that people can track their bus live through GPS trackers on their mobile device or on their computer. All of these things are about improving the customer experience for ACTION. Some of these do come at a cost, and it is appropriate that ACTION recoup some of those costs through the fares. We know full well that ACTION only ever covers a small proportion of its costs through fares. For many people, ACTION provides an excellent public transport system.

That said, ACTION also needs to improve. That is a project that I continue to work on. But it is not fair or accurate to walk into this place and say that the ACTION service has been declining when one looks at all the improvements that have been made in the last couple of years.

So I think it is important to reflect on that when we talk about the topic today, which is the impact of ACT government decisions on household budgets. The government are very conscious of these things, and doing things like providing as good a public transport system as we can is one practical way to assist people with their household budgets.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (4.10): It is very easy to claim that creating a fairer and more sustainable community has to be at the expense of household budgets, but this is, of course, a fallacy perpetuated by those who lack the capacity for imagination, who lack the evidence that demonstrates that achieving a fairer, more sustainable society is a winner for household budgets in the short term while investing in long-term prosperity and economic security.

The territory’s energy and climate change policies are a good example of this. They constitute prudent, evidence-based policy that is delivering a return for the environment and helping to protect household budgets. Any objective analysis shows that the ACT’s energy efficiency scheme, our ACTSmart programs, as well as national energy policy initiatives and the territory’s renewable energy initiatives are delivering net cost savings to household budgets.

The government’s energy programs have developed competition and are promoting efficiency. As a jurisdiction we continue to enjoy the lowest electricity prices in Australia, by a huge margin. The ACT’s retail electricity prices are cheaper than the national average by almost 30 per cent and they are continuing to decline. In 2014-l5, a typical Canberra customer will pay $126 less over the year compared to the previous calendar year. Canberra households pay approximately $1,000 less each year than a similar household in Queanbeyan—$1,000 a year less. This is a significant margin, a big bonus for ACT household budgets. This cheaper electricity is not compromising the quality of our electricity supply. In fact, ACT consumers enjoy a very high level of supply reliability and they consistently report one of the highest rates of customer satisfaction anywhere in the national electricity market.

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