Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1826 ..
I will briefly comment on the two speeches I have heard. I think Mr Stanhope may have taken Ms Le Couteur’s speech just a tad personally. I think it was a very good speech and a very well-written one. I did acknowledge in my speech that the investment the ACT government has made is welcome. We have acknowledged that. We have already had good discussions with the government, and we look forward to further discussions. With bated breath, as always, I also look forward to the Canberra Liberals’ public transport plan. I commend Ms Le Couteur’s motion to the Assembly.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (6.17): Just to start with, let me say that the announcements in the budget about a significant investment in our public transport system are welcomed by the ACT Greens. My colleagues and I have made statements to that effect. I am also very pleased to hear that in the next couple of budgets we can look forward to ongoing significant investment in that area.
In relation to Mr Coe’s contribution around the Liberals loving their bicycles and their cycling, all I can say is: “Heavens above. We’ve already got Tony Abbott; we really do not need any more Liberals out there in lycra at this time.” That is something to think about.
The Greens recognise that Canberra faces a troubled future if we do not adapt to our mounting transport problems. Climate change, peak oil, congestion, pollution, economic loss and social inclusion—they are all intertwined with our transport policies. Mr Corbell was right a couple of weeks ago when he said:
The policy we set today locally … will face judgements over many generations to come.
That is true. We in this Assembly need to be effectively engaged in ensuring that we change the way that we do transport here in the ACT. The Greens think that it is possible to turn around our transport patterns. Other cities have done it. It needs a dedicated, coordinated effort, not excuses.
Dr Paul Mees, an expert in transport planning from RMIT, says that it is wrong to argue that we cannot have effective sustainable travel because our city is not compact. We hear arguments that Australia is not like Europe, but European urban regions are not as dense as we tend to think. Beyond the city boundaries almost everywhere in Europe has suburbs and even semirural areas which have been integrated into a single metropolitan unit economically and in terms of transport. There, you can live on the outskirts and still do everything you need without using a car. You have that option.
As Paul Mees points out, cities that offer excellent sustainable and active transport facilities are not just in Europe. Canadian cities are now doing it as well. Canadian cities like Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary have similar urban densities to Australia’s, but they have learnt the lesson of how to provide more effective sustainable transport.
The reality is that people in Europe, Canada or Australia are all the same. They will use sustainable transport options when it is convenient. According to the research of