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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2254 ..

I support Minister Berry’s very strong language that she is listening to the needs of tenants as these redevelopments roll out and am heartened by her genuine commitment to achieving more and better housing stock. The ACT Greens will continue to support increased public housing, better public housing and an enhanced public transport system so that we do have a situation where those tenants who are living in accommodation that is suitable for them and more residents of Canberra have better access to public transport more often than is currently the case.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (4.24): I would like to talk a little bit about the MPI’s relationship to public transport in this debate. Worldwide, integrated transport networks shape the way cities grow and prosper. Integrated transport networks generate economic opportunities and jobs and they are a catalyst for creating vibrant and attractive urban environments. The government knows the importance of public transport and is investing, through a range of visionary policies and projects, to make our city a better place to live, work and do business.

Like all major Australian cities, car use climbed in Canberra in the latter part of the 20th century. This has led to growing congestion, transport disadvantage, greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution and sedentary lifestyle diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Canberra has the highest average travel speeds and lowest level of congestion of any major Australian city. However, our population and traffic congestion are both growing, with congestion growing at a faster rate.

If we do nothing, by 2031 it is estimated our roads will have a greater traffic congestion, resulting in longer travel times, less productive work hours and health risks associated with less physical activity and the stress of commuting. Our transport system needs to provide options for everyone and we need to design our city so people can live where the best public transport is. Knowing where major public transport corridors are can help guide our decisions about the location of social and affordable housing to ensure people with the highest need for public transport have access to the best public transport.

Low density urban form combined with a lack of access to good transport options can lead to social isolation. There are parts of our city where high frequency public transport may be desirable but can be difficult to deliver at high frequencies due to circuitous road networks and very low density. A compact city supported by quality urban development will both support mass public transport on major corridors, both roads and public transport, and help to make active travel the obvious choice for local trips.

Mobility is a key enabler of social inclusion. Individuals with limited access to transport options are likely to have difficulty accessing work, travelling to places of education, accessing health services, or participating in social activities. Vulnerable groups in the community such as children, the elderly, low income householders and people with disabilities and cultural minorities have more reliance on public transport options. With a large baby boomer population in the ACT, and it is expected to rise by 170 per cent by 2056, access to a range of transport options beyond private vehicles will continue to be a priority for a city that supports a more livable community.

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