Page 1695 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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Transport Canberra—bus services

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (6.13): Shortly after my election in 2016, I was contacted by a constituent who lives in Macrossan Crescent in Latham. At the time, there were bus stops in this street, but these stops were serviced only on weekdays. Weekend service completely bypassed Macrossan Crescent, requiring this resident, and many others in the same situation, to walk more than a kilometre to access the nearest bus stop in Onslow Street. This is a significant journey by foot, especially for many of the older Canberrans who live in the area.

I wrote to the then minister and asked if bus service could be extended to this street on Saturdays and Sundays. Her short response was no, but she assured me and residents in this part of Latham that their feedback would be considered as part of future network planning.

The next year, the network was updated, and I hoped that this might include a weekend bus service for Macrossan Crescent. It did not. So, again, I wrote to the minister to find out what had happened to the feedback. In response, the minister wrote:

Your constituents’ concerns about the weekend buses in Latham have been forwarded directly to the Transport Canberra service planning area to be considered as part of network 18 redesign.

Nevertheless, network 18 still did not extend weekend bus service to the residents of this street. Then came network 19, with its slash and burn approach to long-established bus stops across our city. The residents of Macrossan Crescent who had politely asked this government for weekend services to match weekday services, were given a nasty fulfilment of their request: no more buses in their street at all any day of the week.

I am reminded of these events after recently speaking with another Canberran who lives in Macrossan Crescent. Three years ago, this gentleman, like his neighbours who first contacted me, found it difficult to use public transport on Saturdays and Sundays, but at least he had other options. Now if he wishes to go anywhere, he needs to walk more than a kilometre, regardless of the day of the week.

I realise that the former minister once tried to explain away this kind of distance by saying that the government looks at radial distance and not how far someone has to actually walk to a bus stop. That might seem like a clear response during question time, but it does nothing to change how far the residents of Macrossan Crescent must now walk to catch a bus, despite having previously enjoyed a bus service in their street for many years.

The former minister also stated that this government relies upon the recommendations in its estate development code. Rule 4 in the code requires that at least 90 per cent of dwellings are within 500 metres of a bus stop for a local route and within 800 metres of a bus stop for a rapid route. No matter how one measures the distance, fewer than

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