The Hon. D. T. HARWIN: My question is to the Minister for Mineral Resources, representing the Minister for Transport. Is the Minister aware of today's report from the Auditor-General concerning fare evasion on public transport, which indicates that almost $30 million per year is lost through fare evasion? Is the Government concerned about that loss? What is the Government doing to stem losses?
The Hon. E. M. OBEID: I am advised that the State Rail Authority is already acting on the issues raised by the Auditor-General's report. State Rail is increasing the number of full-time ticket inspectors by 50 per cent over the next few months, from 100 to 150. Other initiatives to be introduced include hand-held electronic ticket checking machines to catch passengers who travel past their correct destination; court summonses rather than infringement notices for people repeatedly caught without a ticket; closer co-operation with other agencies such as the Infringement Processing Bureau and the State Debt Recovery Office to reduce fine defaults; and a public education campaign for stations and trains next year, including prominent signs warning of the penalties for fare evasion. While there is still more to do, CityRail has already taken steps to reduce fare evasion and to ensure that those who try to cheat the system are caught and fined.