Keoilis Downer bus services

15th February 2018

Mr GREG P IPER ( Lake Macquarie ) ( 13:14 :30 ): By leave: I thank members for participating in debate on the motion moved by the member for Wallsend. I would like to calm things down a bit. Government members appear not to understand the severity of the issues being raised by members on this side of the House. I appreciate that they are provided with advice by the Minister's office and that they are required to prosecute the argument. However, the member for Wallsend, the member for Swansea, the member for Charlestown and the member for Newcastle have provided many examples of problems with public transport in their electorates. Those stories are similar to the stories I am hearing in my electorate.

The question is whether or not this policy has been implemented in ignorance or incompetently, and I am not suggesting that. I have met people from Transport for NSW and I do not believe that they wanted to disadvantage anyone who already had public transport services. However, that is the result of the changes that have been implemented. The member for Oatley and the member for Riverstone said that if new services are added or if changes are made there will be winners and losers. Perhaps people have been ignored for far too long. I am sure every member has written to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure asking for more public transport coverage in their electorate. However, it is another thing to remove services from areas in which individuals and families have invested because of the existing public transport system. This is not a simple matter of someone having something they did not have previously. It might be a bonus, but they did not expect it.

I can provide members with a good example of that in Cardiff South. An ageing couple in their mid- to late?60s—they are still fit—have lived in the area for some time and they have renovated their home so that they can age in that place. They have made a substantial investment in their home and it is perfectly located for their needs. The service they can access at the bus stop across the road takes them to the aged care facility housing the woman's mother, and to Garden City at Kotara, which has the medical services they need. That bus stop has been removed. Of course, there are other public transport options, but they will not be appropriate as they age. They will now have to sell and move on. They also might find that they need to buy a car they do not now need. I often hear stories like that. I have also heard stories about people with special needs who are missing out.

Did the Minister set out to do that? I do not believe that for a moment. When he talked about providing an extra 1,000 services, did he divide them among different areas? I do not believe he did. In fact, I think he is genuinely proud of what he is delivering. However, the stories members have related to the House cannot be dismissed. These changes are having a huge impact on our local communities. I had a pleasing meeting with Transport for NSW officials yesterday at which they indicated they were willing to consider changes. I would like all members to realise that this is a genuine issue.

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