Ms JODI McKAY ( Strathfield ) ( 15:19 :52 ): My motion should be accorded priority because on 1 July 2016 new Opal fares will be introduced. Earlier today the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal [IPART] released its final report and the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure has refused to respond to it. In fact, in the only statement that has been released so far the Minister said, "We will respond in due course." It is only six weeks until 1 July 2016 and we have no idea about what is to happen to Opal fares in this State.
The Opposition has many issues with this report and the direction in which this Government is heading. Although the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure said earlier this afternoon that he has not made up his mind, Labor contends that he has. The IPART report proposes an increase in Opal fares three times the rate of inflation. This will have an enormous impact, particularly on people in Western Sydney. I note that the member for Parramatta is seated in the Chamber. For example, people in his electorate will be looking at an increase of about 38 per cent, which means in 2018 they will be paying $756 for their Opal fares. There will be an increase of up to 40 per cent in fares for commuters who live at Penrith, Richmond, Liverpool, Toongabbie, Parramatta and East Hills—that equates to about a $1,000 increase for people in Penrith and Richmond. This Government is also targeting pensioners. It is well-known that the $2.50 cap for pensioners, which has existed for the past 11 years, will be abolished.
Mr Mark Coure: Do you have an Opal card?
Ms JODI McKAY: Who is going to stand up for pensioners? Not the member for Oatley. There will be a 60 per cent increase within three years for users of the gold Opal card—this Government is waging a war against pensioners. Those on this side of the House will stand up for pensioners; we will not tolerate an increase in the $2.50 cap for pensioners. I call on the Government to leave the cap as it is. This increase above the consumer price index [CPI] also coincides with the Government's proposal to increase toll charges above the CPI. Never before have we seen that in this State but that is exactly what will happen with the WestConnex. No matter whether commuters travel by rail or by road they will be slogged by this Government.