Page 2637 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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change transportation ownership and usage models forever. Canberra is not immune to this global change; in fact, we have a recent history of welcoming it. The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise ride sharing, paving the way for the rest of the country to follow. Both the summit and study tour provided insights into global trends, technologies and good governance models, many of which we have already implemented in Canberra or are well within our sights.

To open the summit we received a welcome address from the Hon Amarjeet Sohi, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in Canada. Minister Sohi provided an emotive opening address, detailing the positive effects he has personally observed of public transport in Canada. He was born in India and moved to Edmonton in Canada in his youth. It was public transport that helped his family settle and create a new life. Indeed, he became a bus driver and so considered himself the minister “because” of infrastructure. It was a pretty inspiring story, and we know there are a number of migrants working in our bus service here in the ACT, so perhaps it is an inspiration for them.

That we need to place the passenger at the heart of everything we do in public transport, including network planning and operations, was a frequent observation of the delegation and a theme of many presentations. It is also something the ACT government has ensured is at the heart of its decisions to procure and develop new transport infrastructure and services that meet the needs of all Canberrans. Much like Australia, Canada has had a mixed history of federal government involvement and investment in public transport and has often relied upon state, or in Canada provincial, governments to keep cities moving.

The 2015 election of the Trudeau government resulted in a massive shift in policy and focus, and Minister Sohi proudly reflected on his government’s recent commitment of $3.4 billion for public transport projects across the country and the positive impact it will have on all Canadians. The first phase of this work was to focus on the modernisation of existing assets; not building new but bringing existing assets into good repair. This is something the ACT government is also working on, through upgrades to bus infrastructure, including the purchase of new buses and the redevelopment of bus interchanges, such as nearby in Dickson. Minister Sohi advised that ultimately public transport infrastructure creates better, more innovative, more livable cities, qualities our government has publicly stated as our clear objectives.

Delegates also heard from Mr Macky Tal, the vice-president for a public institution, CDPQ, who gave a presentation on the governance model currently being implemented in Quebec, Canada. CDPQ manages more than $280 billion of assets on behalf of 32 organisations in Quebec. Their mandate is to generate long-term returns and economic development for the city. Under the CDPQ model the government undertakes the planning for a project and sets CDPQ’s long-term objectives. CDPQ is responsible for the long-term financing of infrastructure projects. A key message was that transport and land planning should be undertaken in conjunction with consideration of funding matters. Funding certainty provides better city planning and public transportation outcomes.

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