2010 - Estimates Committee B (McKim) - Part 1
TRANSPORT AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
CSO: Payment to Metro Tas Pty Ltd
FINCH - Minister, there
is a lot of information in point 14 on page 6.9 about the increase in
money provided for long-term capital requirement, increased cost and
increased demand for services. Is that allocation sufficient to
cover people who need entitlements and concessions to be able to use
the Metro service?
McKIM - Are you asking
specifically in relation to Metro?
FINCH - Yes.
- It is 6.4.
McILFATRICK - The
Government Prices Oversight Committee sets - sets a reference about
the concession framework and how equitable it is, and we have made a
lot of changes over recent years with school buses, et cetera.
If you are talking about the availability of the general concession,
I think we have the right mix, but it is something that, as economic
conditions change, we will be wanting to look at it to make sure that
it continues to be the right mix.
FINCH - I am curious
about representations that might come to Metro in respect of people
who find the fares are out of their range - perhaps people who use
the bus more. Is there a better allocation to them?
McKIM - It would be great
to be able to provide a free service for everything that Government
does, but there is a significant CSO payment to Metro, and within the
constraints of its operating framework Metro does a good job to keep
prices down. I am just wondering if I have my Green card with
me, but I do not think I have - no, it is in my wallet in my
office. When you buy a Green card - and I have just signed off
on a letter that you will all get to let you know about the benefits
of Green card - when you buy $20 worth of credit on a Green card,
Metro will give you an extra $5 for free, and when students put $10
on they get $12.50 instead of the $10. If you use Green card
you are getting some free travel, simply by choosing to use an
electronic card. Every Metro bus has a swiper, and you just put your
card on the tray on the way in, it reads the card and deducts the
fare from your card.
are things that Metro is doing to bring down the cost of passenger
transport, but I accept that some people will struggle at times with
the fares for public transport and that is important, because
public transport has a crucial role to play in addressing social
disadvantage. Some people simply cannot afford to own and operate a
motor vehicle and they actually rely on our public transport system
to get around. If those people are struggling with the fares,
that is certainly an issue.
FINCH - As we have heard
from Mr McIlfatrick, there is a review of that and constant
monitoring of it.
Mr McILFATRICK -
Metro is constantly looking at it. It is probably more of a GBE
inquiry, but they very much aware of them - they are providing a
public service and I have found them to be very flexible in trying to
meet customer needs. One of our issues is to get more full fare
paying passengers onto Metro, to take the pressure off and make it a
more viable business all around.
FINCH - Yes, that is the
thrust of what you were saying, Minister. The explanation of point 14
in respect of this output group refers to supporting Metro's
long-term capital requirement, and increased costs, et cetera.
What things are we talking about with respect to capital?
McKIM - For Metro?
FINCH - Yes.
McKIM - That would be
buses, the maintenance equipment - the things you need to run a
business enterprise such as Metro.
FINCH - The increase we
have had from 2009 - and we have something like $4 million extra
in the Budget - is that because of increased costs of buses?
McKIM - Some of that
would be due to increased costs but, as I have just indicated, Metro
has recently ordered four new buses for its fleet, and that would
have part of the general rollover of the fleet. Metro makes
decisions, and I am a shareholder minister. If Metro is making
appalling decisions I would want to know why, but I do not think it
is. I have every confidence in Metro and the CEO, Heather
Hazelgrove, to make good decisions. I think Metro has come a
long way in the last five years or so, and is in the process of
transforming itself into a twenty-first century public transport
provider - I am very excited about Metro's future. The
expenditure of that money is effectively made by Metro, not by anyone
sitting at this table, but the sort of things that it would be
expended are new buses, and facilities, if needed - new bus shelter
and those type things.
FINCH - Thanks,
Minister. Thanks, Chair.