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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14429

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (13:02): by leave—I just want to take this opportunity, recognising, as the chair has just outlined, that this may be the last opportunity in this parliament for us to talk about the fabulous work of the committee that we've been chairing and that I've been deputy chair of over this parliament. I would encourage people to look at this report. It's a significant body of work which was turned around in a reasonably short period of time, I have to say.

Transport in our cities, between our cities and between our cities and our regions is something that's such a significant and important issue, and this was an opportunity for us as a committee to look at innovation in that space and the challenges and opportunities it presents. A range of really solid recommendations have been put forward by the committee to look at ways in which, if I can use the analogy of the transport committee, instead of having the future come down the track at us, we as a nation can actually apply some foresight and anticipate where those challenges and opportunities are and respond effectively.

I think the committee's report provides some very good signposts around alternative fuels, infrastructure and communications infrastructure which are so much more closely knitted with transport infrastructure in this modern space. If we get all of those aspects right, we can really improve the connectivity across the nation that the chair talked about. So I would encourage people to have a look at the report. Have a look at the recommendations in particular, but also have a look at the significant discussion, because we had such fantastic contributions by many, many members of the community about the opportunities for automated mass transport and alternative fuel technology availability.

The main reason I wanted to speak today was to have the opportunity to thank very much the member for Bennelong, who chaired the committee. He has been a really inspiring chair. He has been really determined to work through the evidence and get a bipartisan position. Some of the best work that happens in this place happens in that frame and doesn't get enough attention. Sometimes chairs can be quite the opposite, so I wanted to acknowledge that the member for Bennelong wasn't like that. He took a very determined view that we should try to reach a bipartisan outcome.

I thank all the other committee members, who worked really hard. Most importantly, I specifically want to say thank you to the committee secretariat: Lynley Ducker, the committee secretary; Bill Pender, the inquiry secretary; Tegan Scott, the researcher; and Kelly Burt, the office manager. The work we do in this place is world class, and it's world class because of the outstanding calibre of the people who work in the parliament with us. They are too often the unsung heroes of this place. This committee secretariat did a professional and really outstanding job in putting together in this parliament two major reports, which I think have contributed very significantly to the national discussion. I want to put on record my appreciation for their work. Hopefully, we will see this committee, which has a long and very proud history across many parliaments, continue to do that in the next parliament as well.