Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4647 ..
minimise car use, with all the expenses that car use entails. An average medium-sized car’s whole of life costs, calculated on a weekly basis, are around $150, and that is before parking costs. This is a huge strain on weekly household budgets. Creating a society which, through inadequate investment in public transport, compels families to own multiple cars is a strain on families. Building a public transport system that works effectively returns money to Canberra families, and that can then be spent in our shops, our communities and our businesses. This builds successful local economies that create local jobs, rather than giving more money to multinational companies such as oil companies—money which is then lost from the ACT economy.
We heard in the earlier debate about climate change that the Canberra Liberals fear that the family car will be an added cost burden under any strategy to combat climate change. They are concerned about added fuel costs or other transport cost measures. However, we should all recall that, prior to the global financial crisis, most economists were predicting fuel prices of upwards of $2.50 per litre, and the invisible hand of expanding demand and dwindling supply will drive up costs. Under-investment in a cheap, effective public transport alternative will lead the families that the opposition leader is so concerned about to lose more and more money to international oil companies, and spend less and less in local shops. Of course, this blind reliance on a misguided ideal of a multiple car household remaining affordable—if you call the current $300 a week affordable—sabotages the economic aspirations of Canberran families. In this context, building an affordable transport system for all is crucial in building economically and environmentally sustainable local communities.
We must also remember the practical aspects of public transport in the local economy. As many small business owners will tell you, foot traffic is crucial to driving sales and building small business success. As the small business owners located in places like Mawson, Kippax and Calwell will tell you, public transport infrastructure like park-and-ride facilities encourage higher customer levels, as mums and dads pop into the shops for bread and milk or for a coffee on their way to work or on their way home.
Earlier this year the ACT government adopted social tendering. This is something the Greens have been pushing for for years, and we are very pleased that this commitment has been made. There can be no doubt that government expenditure is a vital part of our economy. Of course, this primarily comes from the commonwealth government, but the difference and contribution that ACT government expenditure makes to the ACT economy should not be overlooked. Social tendering and the social outcomes that can be achieved from targeted and well-considered government expenditure can make a real difference to small enterprises that deliver positive social outcomes. Small initiatives like employing public housing tenants in undertaking cleaning and maintenance of Housing ACT properties, as has been done successfully in New South Wales—another example of a small social enterprise initiative—can create local jobs.
As I have said many times before, we need businesses and infrastructure to deliver better returns on natural, human and economic capital investments, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions, extracting and using fewer natural resources, creating less waste and reducing social disparities. We know that we can do this, that