Dr MEHREEN FARUQI: In directing my question without notice to the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, representing the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, I point out that the Opal rollout is due to complete in a couple of months—on 1 January 2016—with the removal of many paper tickets and that, according to the Opal website, top-up machines have been installed at fewer than half the stations on the Sydney trains network and only a handful of stations and wharves for Sydney Ferries and intercity train services, I ask: Will the Government commit to rolling out top-up machines at all stations and wharves by 1 January 2016, or at least commit to the rollout of 350 machines that the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure promised in July this year?
The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank Dr Mehreen Faruqi for her question. How refreshing it is to have a Greens member actually direct a question to me so that I can answer.
The Hon. John Ajaka: You cannot pay her.
The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I am not going to pay her. There are more than four million Opal cards. In fact, the number is probably now four million and one because I have one.
The Hon. Greg Donnelly: A gold card for the oldie.
The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: The Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism would not give me one.
The Hon. John Ajaka: I would not give it to him.
The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I should get one. They told me that I do too much work to be entitled to one. Opal cards are now available on all Sydney trains on the New South Wales TrainLink intercity services or Sydney Ferries and 5,000 buses across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra. Geographically, Opal is the largest electronic ticketing system in the world, covering 40,000 square kilometres. Already there are 102 Opal top-up machines servicing the ferry and train networks, with more to come by the end of the year.
The member asked about the 350 machines the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure promised in July. By early 2016 around 350 machines will be rolled out across train stations, ferry wharves and bus and light rail stops. Five years ago there were no machines. We remember the glossy brochures and promises from the Labor-Greens government but there were none. That is why I thank the member for her insightful question—it allows us to remind people how bad the Labor-Greens alliance was.
This rollout will provide coverage for about 99 per cent of customers. Customers can also get adult and child/youth Opal cards on the spot at 2,000 retailers, including at select Woolworths supermarkets—I assume members of The Greens use Woolworths supermarkets occasionally—at many newsagents, petrol stations and local corner stores across Sydney and the regions. In addition, we have just launched that service at eight of the State’s revolutionary Service NSW centres. It would not be inappropriate for a member of The Greens to go into a Service NSW—a fantastic partnership we have with the Minister for Finance, Services and Property. Public transport customers can now obtain and top-up Opal cards at Service NSW centres. This will make it even easier for people to make the switch from paper tickets. Service NSW and the Opal card have both independently revolutionised service delivery, making it easier and simpler to deal with the Government. Opal facilities are now available at regional Service NSW centres across the State. What the Government is doing for Opal cardholders is pretty good.
The Greens’ comments today on light rail and transport showed that they did not recognise the work the Government has done since 5 January to fix Sydney transport with the provision of light rail. They have said that the Baird Government had begun to shut major roads despite having little in the way of analysis or alternatives. That is just wrong—not unusual, but just wrong. These comments are demeaning to transport officials who have done so much work to make it such a success. [Time expired.]
Source: Parliamentary Hansard 27/10/2015 http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20151027022?open&refNavID=