Page 1815 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022
duplications and to put them on hold until a more suitable time, if we think we still need them.
Athllon Drive is one of the projects we do not think we need. I spoke about this to the Canberra Times in April. The journalist pointed out that the population of the Tuggeranong Valley has fallen in the last two decades. It is unclear to us how we are getting the best value for money by investing in a road duplication to Tuggeranong instead of spending that money on fixing the existing road and path network in Tuggeranong or reinvesting the money in the Tuggeranong region in a more useful way.
We could fix up all our roads and paths there. We could increase our bus services in Tuggeranong. We could work on light rail. We could build other things that the community want and need—more parks, more green spaces. The $46.7 million of funding from the federal government and the $93.3 million total cost of the duplication would be much better used if it was redeployed to other projects. If we did that, it would still create jobs, it would still stimulate our COVID recovery and it would still help Canberrans to move around the city.
That money was announced by Zed during the election campaign. I do not like having ACT government planning decisions made by people who are not part of that decision-making process. I really resent it. I stated our position at the time, and I will restate it now: every single road duplication needs to be carefully thought out. When we are talking about road duplications, building more roads is not a long-term fix for road congestion. More roads fill up with more cars and more roads lead to more climate emissions. A better approach is to put more money into public and active transport to help more people get out of their cars. We want to look at every duplication before we commit to it.
I know it is counterintuitive, so I am going to spend a bit of time talking about this concept. Building more roads does not fix congestion. It is well accepted in transport now that the way to fix congestion is to help more people get out of their cars and to remove more cars from the roads. Additional duplications, widening and other investments on the parkway will simply stimulate more cars. It will create more traffic and encourage more driving. It is not going to solve our congestion or our other problems.
The only sustainable way to fix that traffic is to get as many people out of their cars as possible, to help everyone who can get out of their car to do that, to give them really good public and active transport options, to build on this flexible work trend that we are seeing and help them with their trip-chaining, to help them reduce the number of trips they need to use, to use logistics and behaviour change programs and to invest in all of that education to help people travel at different times of the day.
We are looking at all of that. I am really pleased to hear that the minister is looking at all of those tools for the Disruption Taskforce, but I think we need to widen that out, city-wide now, and use those tools before we use road duplications. Other cities all around the world are doing that. Other cities are cutting down their road duplications.