Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2986 ..

been pretty hard to swallow. My kids went to a public school on a regular old public bus along with thousands of other kids every day. While some people think that is normal, there are others in the community who seem to be accusing me of neglecting my kids.

We are Canberra. We are one of the safest cities in the world. While it might be politically expedient for some to pretend there is no difference between the ACT and the DMZ, some of the feedback received indicates that there are people who will believe it. Kids are safe changing buses in Canberra. They are safe changing buses in Belconnen. They are safe changing buses in Woden, in Tuggeranong, at Cooleman Court, or anywhere else in the city. Canberra is one of the world’s safest cities. If we teach our next generation to be timid and fearful, we are doing them a disservice.

Our bus network should make sure every kid can get to school safely and on time. But right now it is a select few schools who are getting dedicated, subsidised school buses at the expense of everyone else. Catching the bus to school should not be controversial. We should be getting more kids onto the regular network so that they can learn how public transport works. If they can get a regular bus it means that if they are running late—and, let us face it, getting the kids out the door on time can be a special kind of hell—they can just get the next bus a few minutes later instead of missing the only school bus.

Some people have asked me why we are changing the bus system. It is simple: because we should. Light rail means more buses to more places more often, and while we are changing things we might as well see what we can improve. Replacing the Xpressos with rapids and reforming school bus routes means we can have more services all day, every day. We should not leave anyone without services, but an all-day service is far better than having buses that are not used or stops with only two buses a day, even if that means changing things.

In April Labor, the Liberals and the Greens came together to pass a joint motion in this place to call for upgrades exactly like what is being proposed to the Transport Canberra bus network. It noted that most kids, around 60 per cent, already catch a regular bus to and from school, rather than take a long and circuitous dedicated school bus. So I am a bit surprised to hear the Canberra Liberals now claiming that the ACT is forcing kids to use regular buses like it is a bad thing. The Liberals claim to want more people to use public transport but apparently only if you attend private school on a dedicated bus route.

Despite this scare campaign, under the proposed—proposed—new bus network, there will be 30 per cent more bus trips past schools, and every bus route has been designed to go past a school every day. More than half of Canberra’s schools will continue to have a dedicated school trip or special S-trip or a combination. The remainder will have an all-day bus service on the regular network. This actually provides more choice for parents and kids alike, and more opportunity for them to use buses to get to and from after-school sports and activities. Thousands of students already use our bus interchanges each day, just like my kids did. The government will also employ more customer service and school safety staff in interchanges and major connection points to help people navigate the new network.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video