Page 4857 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017
are time poor, it is more than frustrating for someone to have to wait in a queue sometimes for an hour or more.
A Braddon constituent recently advised me that he had attended the Woden centre, having already gone online to check the indicative wait times, to complete a transaction that previously he had been able to do at Dickson. The website suggested a wait time of something around 10 to 15 minutes, so he took a break from work believing he could fit it in during his lunch hour. When he arrived in Woden about 10 minutes later he was surprised to see that the estimated wait time had shot up to one hour, and when he was eventually served he had waited an hour and a half.
When I drew this issue to the minister’s attention he went to great pains to point out how the wait times are measured, being based on the time lapse between someone taking a ticket and being called to the counter. I understand that in any measure in real time you will have some variation from the moment of checking the time on the website and the time it takes to get to the centre. However, after having waited for the hour and a half, this constituent specifically made the point of asking the staff at the centre whether they had suddenly had a spike in people coming in, which may have explained the sudden variance in the estimated time. The staff member was adamant that there had been an hour or more wait time every day for the previous three weeks.
Just to test the accuracy of the current wait times, my staff accessed the website this morning. At 10.30 every centre had a wait time of less than one minute. At 11.30 all but two had a wait time of less than one minute. By midday some had moved out to eight minutes but Gungahlin was still suggesting a wait time of less than one minute. Unless the minister has authorised a sudden new team of new staff to be at these centres, it seems to be inconsistent with the experiences of various constituents who have contacted me or even with what the Access Canberra staff who are on the front line are saying.
There is no option to attend a shopfront after work or on weekends because all the centres close variously between 4 pm and 6 pm and you would need to know which centres close when. The exception is the vehicle inspection station at Hume, which stays open later on Thursday nights. But that, of course, is a very specialised service. This motion does acknowledge that many services are now available online and that it is a sensible and inevitable development, but it is incumbent on the ACT government to provide these services to all Canberrans irrespective of where they live, how they want to pay and what transaction they want to make.
My motion calls on the government to undertake an analysis of the various shopfronts to determine whether the range of services available at the various shopfront locations provide appropriate choice and availability for all ACT residents and sufficient customer service; to review the opening hours and operating procedures at the various shopfronts to determine how waiting times can be reduced; to continue to consult customers to better understand how to deliver improved accessibility, especially for those who work or who rely on others to take them to the shopfronts to undertake their business transactions; to undertake a thorough review of the current range of payment methods to ensure that they provide sufficient choice for all ACT residents;