Page 5184 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009

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Municipal services—pedestrians and cyclists

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and it concerns walking and pedestrians in Canberra. How did the recent review of cycling and pedestrian networks cover suburban footpaths—that is, the local residential footpaths which people use to move around their streets and to get to bus stops et cetera?

MR STANHOPE: I think it is fair to say that the government has sought, as always, to consult as broadly as possible in relation to this particular review. As members are aware, Roads ACT commissioned a review of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, primarily to assist in developing future capital works programs covering footpaths and bicycle paths between town centres, most particularly with a focus on those routes between town centres and within town centres and other employment nodes.

The review, as members are aware, is part of a broader sustainable transport plan where walking and cycling play an important role, particularly in the context of the modal shift which the government is seeking to achieve over the next 20 years or so in the context of our sustainable transport plan where we are hoping to increase the number of people walking and cycling to work quite significantly, incrementally, every year as part of our sustainable transport plan.

The government, or at least Roads ACT, has not yet concluded its consideration of the review. I understand that the review, indeed the current consultation, is a consultation based on a first report from the consultants employed to undertake the review. Some notional plans and sketch plans have been produced, are available on the Roads ACT website and are available for perusal. The government is inviting response and further community input into those.

Going to your specific question, around consultation with pedestrians or those that walk in relation to the footpath or pedestrian aspect, there is a pedestrian forum. I must say that there is not an advocacy group representing walkers or pedestrians with the force or with the activity and energy of that which represents cyclists. That of itself is an issue for government. Always, where we have a consultation, as in this instance, in relation to footpaths and cycle paths, the government is receiving quite vigorous representations from the organisation representing cyclists and not nearly the same level of responsiveness, vigour or energy in relation to issues affecting pedestrians.

In every consultation, this is always an issue for government where one strong representative group with an interest in a particular subject is very well organised, with the capacity to run its telephone chain and its rote letter. I have received, as I am sure have other members, exactly the same letter, with exactly the same wording, with exactly the same request, from significant numbers of members of the community. It is a form letter.

Mrs Dunne: Is there anything wrong with a form letter?

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