Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 26 October 2017) . . Page.. 4484 ..
Third, despite these concerns being raised time and time again—and the minister cannot deny that these have been raised with her, as I have been cc’d in on just some of the complaints made to her office—she has failed to accept that perhaps the government got it wrong, that perhaps she should have consulted with patrons, that perhaps she should have done better.
Time and time again the minister has steadfastly said nothing but to repeat how awesome the changes are, how beneficial the changes are for all Canberrans. This flies in the face of numerous constituents who have pleaded with me to do something to get the minister to listen. Only yesterday the minister boldly stated, “We are delivering a complete redesign of our bus network to deliver a faster and easier seven-day-a-week service for everyone in Canberra” and “One of the major improvements to the 2018 network will be increased frequency and better connections so that Canberrans will be able to just turn up at a bus stop and go where they need to.” I have to ask: Minister, can you look a Narrabundah resident in the eye and say that?
Perhaps if you live in Gungahlin or along the train tracks and close to a tram stop and only want to go to another tram stop, you will be satisfied with what the government is delivering for you. But, as we have heard from Mr Parton, for many residents in Tuggeranong, public transport is not working. As I am sure you will hear if Mrs Kikkert gets a chance, for many residents in Belconnen, public transport is not working. And for many residents in the inner south, public transport is not working. I thank Mr Parton for bringing this MPI today. It is an important issue and one that the Canberra Liberals will continue to advocate for.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (3.58): I, too, thank Mr Parton for bringing forward this matter of public importance today because, as has been discussed on many occasions in this chamber and indeed across the community, better public transport in Canberra is something that is important to many. As Mr Parton knows, the ACT government is making significant investments in Canberra’s future transport network to support our growing city. These investments will help to consolidate the move towards an integrated transport network and achieve the government’s vision of a compact, connected, competitive and sustainable city.
The benefits of integrated public transport for our community are substantial and go well beyond getting a person from A to B. They include social inclusion, driving economic development, maintaining livability and, of course, reducing congestion and carbon emissions. An integrated public transport network also makes it easier for Canberrans to take more active transport options between work and home and opportunities for incidental exercise. Linking residential development with areas of employment, retail and entertainment helps build mixed-use precincts and a sense of place for our community. Indeed, it brings people together.
Madam Assistant Speaker, as you know, last year the Labor government established Transport Canberra with a clear mandate: to deliver the ACT government’s vision of a quality public transport system. Of course, the first stage of light rail will free up a