Page 3493 - Week 09 - Thursday, 23 August 2018

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Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Assembly met at 10 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

ACTION bus services

Ministerial statement

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.03): I welcome the opportunity today to report back to the Assembly on the work that we are doing with Canberra’s bus network. We live in Australia’s fastest growing city. In the next 15 years, Canberra’s population is expected to reach more than 500,000. Canberrans’ lifestyles are also changing. As more people move away from a nine to five work schedule, there is a greater need for more transport services for evening and weekend travel.

We also know from current regular public transport users that they expect a better public transport system and we know that a great many Canberrans do not use public transport to go to work, school or shopping because it does not meet their needs. For example, only around eight per cent of Canberrans catch a bus to work at the moment, with 10 times as many people driving. Similarly, only around five per cent of primary school students in Canberra use a bus to get to school, with 16 times as many primary school students—over 80 per cent—being driven to school.

We know we can do better. The ACT government is investing now to ensure that the best possible network, fleet and infrastructure are in place to meet the needs of our growing city and to ensure that Canberra remains one of the most liveable cities in the world. The design of a modern, integrated network of bus and light rail is a critical first step.

Despite the scare campaign being run by those opposite, the fact is that our government invests over $150 million each year in public transport. Since 2016 we have invested heavily in public transport, including Canberra’s largest ever infrastructure project, stage 1 of light rail, and $43 million to purchase 80 new buses for our growing bus fleet. We invested an additional $26 million in 2016 to roll out the new rapid bus network and since then we have continued to invest in a better bus network for our city.

For example, in the past two years we have invested an additional $7 million for free travel on two new rapid bus routes, free off-peak buses for seniors and concession cardholders, the new airport and route 182 Weston line services; $2 million to

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