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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 3896

Mrs KELLY —by leave-I wish to make a brief statement on the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts review of the Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network; but first of all I want to take this opportunity at the end of the session to congratulate the staff of the Public Accounts Committee on the high standard of service it has delivered to members of the Committee. The Parliament has seen a great number of reports from the Public Accounts Committee presented, and of course none of them would have been possible without the dedication of our staff. I thank all the members of that staff.

I want to make some brief reference to the report on the ACTION bus service, obviously because I have some interest in it as it affects my electorate. I think that the report will provide a very useful and practical input into improving its operations and efficiency, and I congratulate the members of the Committee on their work. The Committee should be congratulated on many of its recommendations. The report fits in very well with the joint study on ACTION that has been undertaken and will enable ACTION to look constructively at the heavy demands expected to be placed on it over the next 10 years. In particular, the joint study and this report will provide a basis for gaining endorsement for ACTION's policies, objectives and standards and will assist it to develop improved planning mechanisms, including a corporate plan.

I am sure that ACTION will welcome some of the recommendations of our report, particularly on the development of a corporate plant. Also, the report recommends providing improved performance, operating and cost data to the public, determining the extent of ACTION's independence in line with government policy, improving resource scheduling and developing an appropriate acquisitions policy, of course within Budget limitations, suitable for the future roles and demands of ACTION. Fare structures have also been reviewed, and collection methods have been looked at. It seems to me that one of the very positive things about ACTION is its collection method, which enables it to get people on and off buses in the Australian Capital Territory in almost record time.

The report says some other very positive things about ACTION. It says how reliable, comfortable and generally of high standard ACTION's services are, and we should congratulate the management of ACTION and in particular the drivers, who are members of the Transport Workers Union. Obviously, there are opportunities for improvement and the report outlines some of those.

Providing an effective bus system for the people, particularly in my electorate, is a great challenge for the future. In the Tuggeranong Valley we have one of the fastest growing areas in this country, and I think we will have to review the way the system works. At the moment it operates on an interchange basis, with buses operating from one interchange to another. Frankly, I think that that will be impossible in the future, principally because the philosophy behind the planning of Canberra has been that people live and work in the same area. That will not be the case in the future, particularly in the Tuggeranong Valley. There is not sufficient employment for a large number of people to work in the Tuggeranong Valley, so they will have to travel. Many will have to work in Civic and the most obvious way of getting there is by bus. That will provide an enormous challenge to ACTION in the future. We will have to look at ways of getting express buses straight through to the city, with minor bus links going into central areas. The interchange system will not be able to accommodate the increasing growth of the Tuggeranong Valley and the great movement of the work force out of the valley into Civic. So, it is necessary that ACTION look at the recommendations of the Committee.

Again, I thank the Committee members for their support and their recommendations, because I am sure that in the long run those recommendations will work to provide a much better service for my constituents.