ACT Chief Minister Media Release, 8 April 2010:
More than 500 ACTION buses travel through the Parliamentary Triangle each work day - including a REDEX service every 15 minutes. But Liberal Senator Gary Humphries, bunkered in his Parliament House office, can't see or hear them go by.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today that Senator Humphries' recent bizarre comments about pay parking and public transport showed just how much he had lost touch with the concerns of Canberrans since he led the Liberals to a resounding defeat in the 2001 ACT elections.
"Perhaps Mr Humphries is caught in a time warp and is having a flashback to the number of buses that serviced the Parliamentary Triangle when he was in charge of the ACT, because he clearly hasn't a clue about how things have changed since he lost government," Mr Stanhope said.
"The reality is that more than 500 ACTION buses service the Parliamentary Triangle every weekday, including the fantastic new REDEX service, which operates every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm. That's more than 250 buses northbound and the same number southbound. Moreover, almost no Commonwealth public servant works more than a few minutes walk from a bus stop. Yet Mr Humphries insists that there should be no pay parking in the zone until ACTION puts more buses into the area!
"Exactly how many more buses does he believe are warranted before he will accept the inevitability of pay parking?"
The Chief Minister said Senator Humphries' comments showed that he had no interest in promoting a truly sustainable transport system for the ACT, and no interest in encouraging Canberrans to combat climate change.
"Perhaps, like his Leader, Tony Abbott, Mr Humphries no longer believes climate change is real. It is hard to think of any other reason to account for his absurd attack on pay parking in the Parliamentary Triangle - or his contempt for voters who work in Civic, Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong, who already do their bit for sustainability by paying for the luxury of driving to work.
"One of the real barriers to the creation of a genuinely sustainable public transport system in Canberra is the fact that workers in the Parliamentary Triangle do not have to pay for parking.
"As long as parking in the Parliamentary Triangle remains free, there is not much incentive for Commonwealth Public Servants to hop on the 500 buses that run right past their workplaces each and every day. And it seems that the Liberal Party in the ACT is determined to keep those buses as empty as it possibly can."