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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1890 ..

Road safety is very important, and having fewer cars in our busier urban areas will help us to improve that. Research shows that when we have more people riding, drivers become more aware of cyclists and take more care. I am hoping that the adoption of more e-scooters across the city does the same thing. It might make Canberrans more aware of pedestrians, wheelchair users, cyclists and skateboarders as well as e-scooter riders.

I am glad to see the ACT government and the scooter companies themselves running public safety campaigns. I had the pleasure of attending one of these. It was really good fun. We got to weave around. We had slow races where the prize was awarded to the person who could ride the slowest. It is a really good engagement strategy, and more of those will help our culture of care.

I am pleased to see the government review of the e-scooter scheme and to find that we will be hearing more about safety and collisions and we will all get a chance to look at that data and have a really good think about how we can improve our e-scooter usage and make sure that it is safe as well as great active travel.

As we continue to explore non-car options for getting around Canberra, we need to increase our infrastructure and our maintenance spend to accommodate all the extra people who are walking, riding and scooting around the shared path network. We need to build more paths, we need to fill in the missing links and we need to maintain these to really good standards. If we want people to take active travel seriously, we need to take that infrastructure seriously. Active travel brings many more benefits than car use. It improves our mental and physical health; it improves our air quality; it reduces our emissions; it reduces congestion. We need a network of paths that is as comprehensive and as well-maintained as our roads network.

I have spoken to my colleagues Mr Davis and Mr Braddock. They are very keen to see this scheme expanded to Gungahlin and Tuggeranong. As was noted by other colleagues, we would like to see this scheme expanded all around Canberra in all suitable areas.

When we are rolling out the e-scooter scheme to new suburbs, we need to make sure that we include community consultation. The Greens are strong believers in community engagement and neighbourhood democracy. We know that local communities understand their area best. We need to really listen to locals in an area and make sure we are hearing the range of voices. And we need to acknowledge and accommodate any community reservations and make sure we are dealing with those concerns properly.

While I have heard of a few concerns about the expansion, I have mostly heard overwhelmingly positive comments. I was pleased to see that the recent survey showed that most people are in support of e-scooters. I am confident that with increased public education, driver and user awareness, and increased active travel infrastructure, we can grow into a city that learns to love new and exciting ways to get around. The ACT Greens are pleased to support Mr Pettersson’s motion.

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