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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3857 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

The Way to Go program involved a household visit by a program officer who provided information on transport options, other than driving, tailored to the transport needs of each household. Travel behaviour of the households that received a visit was compared with the behaviour of households that received no information on transport options.

The study found that households provided with information on alternative travel drove 7 per cent fewer kilometres in their cars and travelled 3 per cent further on foot, bus or bike. This compares with an increase of 2 per cent in car kilometres travelled and a 1 per cent decrease in alternative transport in the group that received no information. Encouragingly, the change in travel behaviour was not short-lived. The decrease in car use had become more obvious six months after the initial information visit. These results show that there is a simple and effective way for us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impact of cars on residential amenity.

I am concerned that the government indicated during estimates that the continuation of this program is dependent on the ACT government securing funding from the Commonwealth government or on cutbacks to existing ACT greenhouse initiatives. Government officers indicated at the Way to Go community briefing held a few months ago that the program would cost only $507,000 to roll out across Canberra, yet we are planning to spend in excess of $155 million on road building. I think it is time we started putting our money where our mouths are and getting behind alternative transport. During question time the minister spoke about his commitment to get more people on buses. The Way to Go program would be a great step in that direction.

Although the rate of obesity in the ACT is slightly lower than the national average, any measure that gets people more active will improve community health and quality of life, an issue I know this Assembly is interested in. We know that Canberrans, like all Australians, are on average getting heavier and becoming more unfit, and we are already paying the price in escalated health care costs-another issue this Assembly has debated on many occasions.

In short, this program is worth investing in. It will help not only transport but also health and the environment. The community will benefit through the amenity from reduced traffic flow, safer roads and cleaner air, and through savings on health care, improved quality of life, road building and greenhouse gas abatement measures.

This is a simple motion based on results we have already seen from how Way to Go worked in Woden. I encourage the Assembly to support this motion so that we can extend the Way to Go trial across the ACT and encourage Canberrans to think about their transport programs and our long-term environment and health concerns.

MRS DUNNE (5.21): I rise to support Ms Dundas' motion. The Way to Go program is a worthwhile initiative and needs to be seen within the broader parameters of building sustainability. Way to Go is about people making smarter transportation choices so they can save money and make their communities more livable, just as they do now by recycling and water conservation. Legislation and capital spending can help, but until we learn to make smarter choices about how we travel the problem will not be solved.

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