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Thursday, 13 October 1927

Senator FINDLEY (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

1.   Whether there is any truth in the published statement that the Federal Capital Commission contemplates handing over the transport services of the Territory to private enterprise ?

2.   If so, will he give the Senate an opportunity of discussing the proposed change before any action is taken by the commission?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - The answers to the honorable senator's questions are as follow: -

1.   Yes. Up to the present the Federal Capital Commission has conducted a limited city omnibus service, but it recently called for tenders for the conduct of an adequate service to meet present development. After negotiation with the lowest tenderer, a satisfactory proposal was submitted, and has been accepted by the commission, under which a city omnibus service to meet the present needs of Canberra will be conducted in the near future and under conditions which are to the financial advantage of the commission, and ensure that the public will be properly protected and served, as the undertaking must be conducted in conformity with the provisions of the Motor Traffic Ordinance 1926-27. The same company will also conduct a taxi-cab and hire-car service in the Territory at rates equivalent to those prevailing in Sydney. Such services must also be carried on subject to the control provided by law.

2.   As the new arrangements for the conduct of the amended service have already been brought to finality, there would not appear to be any advantage in reviewing the matter at this stage. Although the Federal Capital Commission might have dealt with this matter entirely within the scope of its authority, it nevertheless consulted the Government, which concurred in the action taken. The service to be provided will be an advantage to the public and will relieve the commission of the necessity for investing considerable capital and turning its organization into a channel which it did not desire to enter in view of the many other urgent matters calling for its attention at the present time and in the immediate future. The commission already has heavy responsibility in operating such municipal services and facilities as water supply, sewerage, lighting, power, roads, stormwater drainage, fire brigade, abattoirs and similar activities, in addition to the administration of many important matters that are outside the ordinary municipal sphere, and it was felt that, as private enterprise had not taken a very active part in the development of Canberra, the necessity to conduct a more extensive omnibus service afforded a fitting opportunity for its co-operation.

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