Today Mark's motion calling on the Marshall Liberal Government to extend free public transport to seniors to include all weekday services as well as weekends and public holidays was brought to a vote. As neither the Liberal Government nor Labor Opposition supported the motion, it did not pass.
The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: Just briefly, by way of summary, I thank the Hon. Clare Scriven, the Hon. David Ridgway and the Hon. Frank Pangallo for their contributions, and particularly thank SA-Best for supporting the motion; it is clear that it does not have the support of the old parties.
I want to put a couple of things on the record: first, to make it abundantly clear that we did get this policy costed—the parliamentary budget office costed it prior to the last state election. I can provide the detailed charts to members if they want, but, as I have said, it is about $1.5 million a year. Given that the amount we are spending on roads and freeways is in the billions of dollars, we are talking about less than a thousandth of that.
As the Hon. Frank Pangallo said, there is a range of reasons why seniors are travelling during peak period, but there is one that had not actually struck me until quite recently. I have become friends with a family from Pakistan. They have recently arrived in Australia and they are undertaking their English language courses at TAFE, which is great. They have the initiative to try to learn (they already speak some English) or to better learn the language of their new country.
The TAFE classes start at 9.30, but the family need to be on the train before 9 o'clock in order to get to class on time, so they are paying a fare, including their elderly mother who does have a Seniors Card and can travel free on the interpeak. Given that we are talking about a family that has arrived in South Australia with very little, it seems mean that an older person travelling to English classes at TAFE has to pay on their trip into town.
I am disappointed that neither of the old parties see fit to support this motion. I remind members that all of the seniors groups and social welfare groups have called for an initiative such as this, and I expect that, when the 2022 election rolls around, we will certainly be putting it back on our policy manifesto.
It has occurred to me in the meantime that I might join my Labor colleagues standing at the top of the ramp of Adelaide Railway Station, and they can hand out their flyers condemning the Liberal government for privatising the trains and I can hand out some flyers condemning both Liberal and Labor for not supporting free travel for seniors.
I am disappointed that this will not pass today, but it will be back and I will make sure that all the seniors groups in South Australia are made aware of the result of today's motion.
That this council—
Calls on the state government to extend free public transport to seniors to include all weekday services as well as weekends and public holidays.
Mark's speech on moving the motion can be read here.