Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 August 1990 Of course, Alice Springs has grown considerably since that time. We have places like the Larapinta Valley, or East Hermannsburg as it is sometimes jokingly called. It really is a bit of a laugh when you think that, no. maHer where you 1 i ve in the' townsh i pof A 1 ice Springs, you are never more than about 10 mi nutes from the heart of town by car. Wh.en the new bus proposal was made and the Mi ni ster; for Transport and Works suggested that the government would provide a substantial amount of funding, I must confess that I felt sceptical. I said in this Assembly on a couple of occasions that my previous. experience indicated that what people said and what they actually .did were far removed from each other. I was concerned that the service would not be successful. However, if it turned out to be successful, I was more than prepared to eat my words. : In the initial phase, one would see 6 or 7 people in the bus. However, more recently, the largest number that I have, seen was 2, and one of those was the driver who looked, totally bored. The 1981 trial cost $20 000, whjch would be worth ,considerably more in today's dollar terms, and lasted for 6 months. ,.The only thing I regret is that we did not paint 'town bus' or 'AS Bus' on'iUs side in order to identify it clearly. However, I do not think that would have made all that much difference.. It seems tome that the pattern is repeating itself. The mayor would 1 i ke to think that more and more people would avail themselves 'of the service and get into the habit of using it, but that does not seem to be happenjng. A man called Stan Kitson' drove the bus in the 1981 trial. .He was telling me of his observations the. other day. He said that, even right out in the Larapinta ValleYi' only 2 people were using the bus to get to the town centre. Usage levels are very low and,that is something that we must face. The figure given recently indicated that it was costing the government more than $5 per person, wh i ch wou,l d make it cheaper .to put peop 1 e j n tax is. Of course, the big problem is that a' 5-year contract has been let to .a subs i di ary of Hannons to run the servi ce and that taxpayers' dollars are being used. ' Her Worship the Mayor urged me recently to support th.e service and ,to demand that the government come to, the party with the money because. Darwi n has a bus ,service. ,r am afraid that I do, not find that approach very sensible. People are not using the,bus service .. The dilemma is that a 5-year contract;i's in p.lace, arid only about 8 months of that has expired. Obviously, getting out of that contract might be a difficulty. Clearly, the company operating the buses has invested a fair bit of money and there is the problem of fairness. The service is not working. From my observations and the observations of,others with whom I have spoken -although I have not been to the council for official figures - this trial resembles the original trial. It was best at the start and now it .is tending to slide away. I be 1 i eve that the reason for th i sis that Ali ce Spri ngs peop 1 e either get. a second car or make the very useful ,arrangement of trave11 iog to and from work or the shops with a friend or neighbour. This approach leads to good social intercourse and helps to compensate for the lack of extended family. The other contri but i ng factor. is the fl ot ill a of 1 itt 1 e buses wh i ch move around the place all the time. The Aboriginal organisations have mi ni -buses, as do the 0.1 d Timers, theCounc il on the Agei ng, the sen i or citizens and so on. Honourable. members from Alice Springs would know Joe Arrand, who is 81 years old and a grand old gentleman. He often said to me: 'How can we get people to use the Council on the Ageing bus? It is there and available. Fred Smith is keen and happy to pick people up and take them where they want to go and back agai n' That was a voluntary 9963

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