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Wednesday, 27 March 1985
Page: 1044

Mr BEDDALL(7.28) —I bring to the attention of the House the insensitivity of the Queensland National Party Government to the people in the suburb of Inala in my electorate. Inala is a satellite suburb of mainly Housing Commission homes. It is separated physically and geographically from the suburbs of Brisbane. It has a population of around 30,000, which means it approximates the size of Mt Isa and Mackay. Unemployment is very high in the area. The medical centre operated by the State Government services the suburb but closes at 5 p.m. The only level of transport available is a privately run bus service which services the suburb, with very few services at night.

Prior to the election the Minister for Transport (Mr Peter Morris) met with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Roy Harvey, and allocated $7m for a Brisbane City Council express bus service to reach Inala residents. That decision was welcomed by all residents of Inala. It meant that many of Inala's unemployed had for the first time a means of reaching the city in time for job interviews, or that at least they had the same opportunities for job hunting as other people in Brisbane. It meant that housewives would no longer be virtual prisoners but would have ready access to shops in the city. For those with relatives and children who were ill it meant that hospital facilities were very close by. It also meant that relatives had some hope of visiting their loved ones in hospitals. At present the taxi fare to the nearest hospital to the suburb of Inala is some $15.

To the outrage of many residents in Inala, the Queensland National Party Government, spearheaded by that ever politically flexible Minister for Transport, Mr Don 'Shady' Lane, announced that the State Government would not allow the City Council bus service to operate to Inala. This is once again a kick in the teeth for Inala residents from the State Government. However, Mr Lane has proceeded to cloak this action in respectability. He proceeded to undertake a survey of Inala residents. The survey was undertaken without any great public announcement and, therefore, few people even knew that a survey was being undertaken. The person conducting the survey was located in a poorly positioned office which was also unknown to the residents of Inala. However, the greatest contrivance was the questionnaire itself. I have been reliably informed that the questions were slanted to achieve the result which showed people were not interested in the bus service. The real facts are that the National Party is not interested in providing adequate transport for the Inala people. It proposes to force people to use an inefficient train service that has given very poor service to that suburb for many years. A privately run bus service operates shuttling people from the suburb of Inala to the railway station. Unfortunately, that service does not operate at night.

The Federal Government demonstrated that it had a commitment to the residents of Inala, that it wished to provide them a service equal to that received by all other residents of Brisbane. Unfortunately, the National Party State Government, for its own reasons, was not prepared to operate on this basis. Honourable members in this place should condemn this action and the insensitivity of the Queensland National Party Government which has shown that it is prepared to crucify a section of one small community who are least able to defend themselves. As I said before, the level of unemployment is very high in this suburb. Without adequate public transport the people have no opportunity to reach positions which may be available to them.

I am hopeful that the Queensland Minister for Transport will now reconsider this decision as $7m is still available from the Commonwealth Government to provide this very needy bus service. If that is not done, the Queensland National Party Government will once again stand condemned for its lack of sensitivity to people in greatest need. I hope that this action is taken shortly.