Page 4094 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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rhetoric in their plans and announcements. There is no doubt that there is work for the government to do, in both coordination and investment. But I do believe that the government is heading in the right direction and taking their public transport improvements seriously.

Minister Gentleman has already spoken to some degree about the government’s response to the auditor’s report. Mr Barr has made several commitments to public transport in recent weeks which are significant. In cooperation with the Chief Minister I recently announced a major operational restructure which will see the commencement of a new transport Canberra agency. We also announced a significant investment in the bus network.

I will touch on some of the specific points raised in Mr Coe’s motion. The Auditor-General said that a significant number of new buses are needed to meet the transport for Canberra mode shift targets. This is an accurate finding by the auditor. Not only does the fleet need to expand but the territory needs new depot space to house these buses. I can assure the Assembly that, with respect to these investments, as the minister responsible for ACTION I am bringing these issues to the budget cabinet for consideration in the upcoming budget.

I also noted that Mr Coe, I think, made the comment that the fleet replacement strategy has stalled. I can assure members that that is not the case. In fact 30 Scania Euro 6 rigid buses were delivered during 2014-15, and another 38 Euro 6 buses are due for delivery during 2015-17. So that program is continuing. Those buses are coming onto the road on a regular basis, and we are using those both to replace older buses and augment the existing fleet.

Mr Coe notes that the frequent network has a benefit-cost ratio of 3.59. This figure was determined from the work done for the government on its public transport strategic network in 2010. It reflects the benefits of investing in public transport and transport corridors. It is not an either-or comparison with light rail, as light rail forms part of that frequent network. What it says is that it is worth investing in the public network that the government has planned.

Mr Coe says that a significant part of the frequent network may never be served by light rail. Just to be clear, the Auditor-General raised the point about the larger frequent network to emphasise the need to embed transport corridors in the territory plan, and I agree with this. The Auditor-General’s comments are not about the government’s recently released light rail network plan, which I do expect that the government can implement, if it shows sustained commitment.

To clarify, the frequent network, as it is set out in transport for Canberra, is a larger network than the rapid network. The rapid network is the spine of the network—where light rail is likely to go—and the frequent network includes more local services, which are likely to be buses, and which will connect to the rapid spine.

Mr Coe in his motion tries to make the link and say that public transport patronage has decreased because of failures identified by the Auditor-General. Again, this is an unjustified leap. This is not a finding of the Auditor-General. Patronage changes are

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