No buses for Macrossan Crescent

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Shortly after my election in 2016, I was contacted by a constituent who lives in Macrossan Crescent in Latham. At the time, there were bus stops in this street, but these stops were serviced only on weekdays. Weekend service completely bypassed Macrossan Crescent, requiring this resident – and many others in the same situation – to walk more than a kilometre to access the nearest bus stop in Onslow Street. This is a significant journey by foot, especially for many of the older Canberrans who live in the area.

I wrote to the then-minister and asked if bus service could be extended to this street on Saturdays and Sundays. Her short response was no, but she did assure me and residents in this part of Latham that their feedback would ‘be considered as part of future network planning’. The next year, the network was updated, and I hoped that this might include weekend bus service for Macrossan Crescent. It didn’t. So again I wrote to the minister to find out what had happened to the feedback. In response, the minister wrote, quote, ‘Your constituents’ concerns about the weekend bus services in Latham have been forwarded directly to the Transport Canberra service planning area to be considered as part of Network 18 redesign’.

Nevertheless, Network 18 still didn’t extend weekend bus service to the residents of this street, Madam Speaker. And then came Network 19, with its slash-and-burn approach to long-established bus stops across our city. The residents of Macrossan Crescent who had politely asked this government for weekend service to match weekday service were given a nasty fulfilment of their request: no more buses in their street at all any day of the week.

I am reminded of these events, Madam Speaker, after recently speaking with another Canberran who lives in Macrossan Crescent. Three years ago, this gentleman, like his neighbours who first contacted me, found it difficult to use public transport on Saturdays and Sundays, but at least he had other options. Now if he wishes to go anywhere, he needs to walk more than one kilometre regardless of the day of the week.

I realise that the former minister once tried to explain this kind of distance away by saying that the current government looks at ‘radial distance’ and not how far it actually takes someone to walk to a bus stop. That might seem like a clever response during Question Time, Madam Speaker, but it does nothing to change how far the residents of Macrossan Crescent must now walk to catch a bus despite having previously enjoyed bus service in their street for many years.

The former minister also stated that this government relies upon the recommendations in its Estate Development Code. Rule 4 in the code requires that ‘at least 90 per cent of dwellings … are within 500m of a bus stop’ for a local route, and within 800m of a bus stop for a rapid route. No matter how one measures the distance, fewer than 20 households in Macrossan Crescent exist within these guidelines. The remainder – more than 100 households in this street and the surrounding area – fall well outside these guidelines. By ignoring its own code, this government has failed these residents.

This week, the government had the opportunity to do the right thing and re-establish bus service for these households. It didn’t. But on behalf of my constituents in Latham, I once again call upon those opposite to restore the previous level of service by allowing the number 40 bus to take a few extra minutes to travel down Macrossan Crescent. Thank you.

#Ginninderra #Adjournment

Recent Posts