14 August 2019
Call for strong action on transport to counter climate emergency
In a week when Infrastructure Australia has flagged increasing congestion across Australian cities, Canberra’s active travel community is calling for the ACT Government to take strong action on active transport investment to show it is serious about dealing with the climate emergency.
The Conservation Council ACT Region, Pedal Power ACT and Living Streets Canberra have come together to launch a community petition calling on the ACT Government to implement key measures that will support viable active travel options for Canberrans to walk, cycle and use public transport. This includes setting measurable transport targets and appointing an Active Travel Commissioner for the ACT.
Helen Oakey, Executive Director of the Conservation Council ACT Region said “after we have met our 100% renewable electricity target, transport is the next biggest source of the ACT’s greenhouse emissions. The ACT Legislative Assembly has already acknowledged that we are facing a climate emergency, and now needs to invest in infrastructure that will help reduce transport emissions.
“Yet while nearly $170million has been budgeted for roads over the next 4 years, only $24million will be invested in active travel infrastructure.
“In addition, it’s very concerning that the 84 new buses promised may not all be 100% electric –‘fuel efficient’ is not good enough when we will need to move to zero emissions as urgently as possible.
“To cut emissions, and to maintain a liveable city in the face of increasing urban density and population growth, the ACT must also set clear legislated targets to increase the number of journeys taken by active travel and public transport, so that we can reduce private car travel and keep congestion under control,” said Ms Oakey.
Ian Ross, CEO of Pedal Power said the ACT Government needs to change its focus.
“We need to massively expand and improve the quality of our cycling network to support Canberrans who are able to choose riding as a healthy and emission-free way to travel, and to meet the future demand of new travel modes such as e-bikes.
““If we are going to hit the 2045 zero emissions target, the ACT Government will need to prioritise projects that help Canberrans ride and walk safely and efficiently around our city.
“We want the ACT to set and fund active travel targets as a priority and to create the role of Active Travel Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the policies that will help us meet our zero emission targets,” said Mr Ross.
Gill King, spokesperson for Living Streets Canberra said “It’s important to keep roads safe – for everyone. Building new roads, which then become busier with increasing car traffic, makes it much less safe and less attractive for people to be outside in our city.
“More funding should be directed to improving paths, connections and signage to support active travel, and to improving reliable public transport options for Canberrans.
“Walking is often undervalued as a transport choice. Especially in combination with public transport, walking is open to nearly everyone, and brings with it many social and physical benefits. Yet it is often made more difficult because of poor quality paths, connections and lighting.
“By prioritising transport investments towards active travel, we will make it easier for all Canberrans to be able to walk or cycle easily, safely, conveniently and comfortably to their nearest school, public transport stop, and shops,” Ms King said.
The petition will be circulated throughout the community before being forwarded to the ACT Legislative Assembly after it closes on November 15th, 2019.
Helen Oakey, Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region, 0402 052 777
Ian Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Pedal Power ACT, 0450 302 020
Gill King, Spokesperson, Living Streets Canberra, 0407 953 959
The petition to be circulated for signing is as follows:
● on 16 May 2019, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed a motion acknowledging the climate emergency, which “requires urgent actions across all levels of Government”;
● the ACT has legislated target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and that meeting this target will require a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport;
● Canberra wants to be Australia’s most walkable city, the cycling capital and an age-friendly city.
Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to request the Government of the Territory to:
● set legislated transport targets that align with the ACT’s zero emissions targets;
● create an Active Travel Commissioner role to oversee the implementation of the ACT’s active travel policies, including targets;
● in the 2019-20 Financial Year, redirect funding from major roads programs to a major infrastructure program for walking, cycling and public transport;
● ensure all new buses purchased by Transport Canberra (including the 84 budgeted for purchase in 2019-20) are zero-emissions electric buses.
Budget 2019-2020 Building for the Future: Budget Statements H: Transport and City Services Directorate, Transport Canberra Operations, ACT Public Cemeteries Authority
The petition is live on the ACT Legislative Assembly website: https://epetitions.act.gov.au/CurrentEPetition.aspx?PetId=122&lIndex=-1