Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2455 ..
It is in that context that, in this most recent budget, the government has supported infrastructure for public transport over and above any other initiative in terms of deliberately new or, in some senses, discretionary expenditure that is incorporated in the budget, which will be debated next week. I look forward very much, in the context of that debate, to outlining the significance of each of the public transport or transport-related initiatives that are contained in the budget.
We recognise that, in order to continue to encourage greater modal shift, to encourage people to catch the bus, but indeed to employ and enjoy other forms of transport, most particularly to work, there are a range of significant investments that we need to continue to make, whether it be in relation to our extensive bikeways and our investment in those or other investments. Over the last two to three years there has been significantly enhanced investment in every aspect of our cycleway network both on and off-road.
We have invested and are beginning to invest in different infrastructure for bike riders in relation to bus bike racks, in relation to facilitating the movement of bikes around the city. Similarly, in plans that have been released around the city, there is a real focus now on improving the cycle-pedestrian networks, new funding for lighting, new funding for every aspect of the encouragement that we believe that we can provide, through capital investment, in transport that will encourage modal shift to meet the sustainable transport targets the government has adopted.
It is heavy going. The government does not deny that. We need to continue to invest, we need to be strategic, we need to develop the plans and we need to invest in the plans in terms of extra buses, more frequent buses, smarter planning and putting public transport first and foremost in our planning of, most particularly, new development, greenfields developments. We know that. And, to the extent that we can identify the funding and invest in those priorities, we are seeking to do it.
There is $100 million of new public transport focused investment in this budget alone. We know that we will need significantly more than that. With the feasibility studies and the studies that are at the heart of this initial $100 million down payment, we believe, with additional similar-sized investments in each of the next years, we can achieve the targets that we have set ourselves for modal shift to public transport. (Time expired).
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (4.02): I thank Mrs Dunne for bringing on this matter of public importance today. There is no doubt that, for many people in Canberra, public transport is a vital service without which they would be isolated from our community. However, it is not only people who are marginalised but older people and people on low incomes who rely on the ACTION bus system. Every day, a higher number of people, including students, workers, business owners and families, make the choice to catch the bus to school, university or their place of business.
We need to look at why people make the choice to use public transport. There can be many motivations. Comfort, convenience or taking a more sustainable form of transport to work are all valid reasons for people choosing to leave their car at home or at a park and ride.