CRONULLA OLYMPIC GAMES BUS SERVICE
(Cronulla) [5.12 p.m.]: Some time ago I spoke about the need for transport to the Olympic Games for people in the electorate of Cronulla. On 19 July I wrote to the Chief Executive Officer, Olympic Roads and Transport Authority, as follows:
I am writing to request that the Easter Show bus service and the Olympic bus service from Miranda to Homebush be extended to commence and terminate at Cronulla.
Feedback from my electorate indicates that the Easter Show bus service from Miranda to Homebush has been very popular with commuters during the Easter holiday period.
However, there is a logical need that this service now be extended to Cronulla, being the far eastern boundary of the shire and where a large proportion of the population reside. Cronulla is also the public transport interchange for the outlying areas of Kurnell and Bundeena.
Residents would benefit greatly from the service. Cronulla has a large area for bus bays and extensions of the service that would greatly alleviate the parking and traffic problems presently associated with joining the bus at Miranda.
Might I say that in that regard there was a blast from the past from the Minister for the Olympics, who put out a press release on 25 August 1998 saying:
Olympic ticket holders living as far from Sydney as Scone and Dungog in the north, Bathurst in the west, Goulburn in the south-west, and Nowra in the south will be able to travel free on the public transport system on the day of their event, SOCOG president Mr Knight announced yesterday.
"A ticket to an Olympic event would entitle the holder to use the CityRail network and the Olympic bus network after the event as often as they like after 4.00 a.m. to give them time to celebrate in the city or elsewhere and still take transport home," Mr Knight said.
People living or staying in outer suburban and regional areas will be able to attend Olympic events, then travel free to places like The Rocks and join late-night festivities and travel home for free.
With many tickets to events such as archery to be priced as low as $10, buying an Olympic ticket will be cheaper than buying a rail ticket from the extremes of the CityRail network.
Of course, back in August last year we did not know that Mr Knight was not going to be exactly Robin Hood; that he would be a reverse of Robin, actually taking tickets from the poor to give to the rich. Lately we have heard a lot about Country Labor, but it seems that constituents of the Cronulla electorate live in a different country; they do not seem to enjoy those sorts of benefits. They are entitled to be told where they stand in relation to a bus to the Olympics. As I indicated, this matter also affects Miranda. Once again I draw to the attention of the House my request, and I seek the courtesy of a response to it.
(Canterbury - Parliamentary Secretary) [5.17 p.m.]: The honourable member for Cronulla seems to be arguing that somehow people in rural areas and in areas further out than Cronulla will be able to get to the Olympics free of charge. He implied that Cronulla constituents will lose out because they do not have an Olympic bus service. However, he failed to point out that there is a CityRail service to Cronulla. Those travelling from Cronulla to the Olympic Games by rail will have a free service. I can appreciate the honourable member wanting a bus service for his constituents as well, and his representations tonight may assist in that regard. However, he should not imply that the good citizens of Cronulla will be worse off than the citizens of areas further out, especially as the people of Cronulla will be able to use the CityRail services to the Olympics free of charge.
: In view of the remarks of the honourable member for Canterbury, under Standing Order 73 I seek the opportunity to make a brief explanation. In no way was I critical of what was being provided for country people. In my view, it is no more than their right. We are all Australians, and the benefits and rights that are being enjoyed from this Olympic period should be extended to all Australians. As I said, I in no way intended to be critical of what is happening in the country. Country people are doing it tough, and they are likely to do it a lot tougher under this Government.