26 November 2019 MEDIA RELEASE

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, was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly today.

The Conservation Council ACT Region, Pedal Power ACT and Living Streets Canberra created the petition to request the ACT Government to improve infrastructure for walking, cycling and public transport; create an Active Travel Commissioner to oversee the implementation of policies that will help us meet our zero emission targets; and to call for any new buses purchased by Transport Canberra to be zero emissions electric buses.

Helen Oakey, Executive Director of the Conservation Council ACT Region welcomed that fact that in just a few months, more than 400 ACT residents have expressed their support for active travel and zero emissions transport options.

”Transport investment is a live issue – the Government is making investment decisions on transport that will impact our city over the next decades. For example, it was disappointing the ACT Government wasn’t ready to buy 40 new electric buses instead of diesel buses which will lock in emissions for another 25 years.

“This petition lets the ACT Government know that Canberrans want better active travel and public transport, to cut emissions and maintain liveable city in the face of increasing urban density and population growth,” Ms Oakey said.

Ian Ross, CEO of Pedal Power said the ACT Government needs an Active Travel Commissioner who will engage with business and community organisations to develop active travel initiatives that build community support for active travel options.

“The ACT Government’s Climate Change Strategy recognises Canberra is currently a car-dependent city. To turn this around, we need a high-profile Commissioner to drive change and market cycling and walking options.

“We need to 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

“However, good cycling infrastructure alone will not persuade drivers to switch from cars to bikes.  We need the government to fund initiatives to help sell cycling,” Mr Ross said.

Murray Lawton, spokesperson for Living Streets Canberra, said the government needed to direct more funds towards improving paths, connections and signage to support active travel, and to improving reliable public transport.

“Walking is often undervalued as a transport choice, especially in combination with public transport, but it needs to be as easy as driving for those who choose it

“Canberrans should to be able to walk or cycle easily, safely, conveniently and comfortably to their nearest school, public transport stop, and shops,” Mr Lawton said.

The petition to be tabled reads 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.

[1 ]Budget 2019-2020 Building for the Future: Budget Statements H: Transport and City Services Directorate, Transport Canberra Operations, ACT Public Cemeteries Authority.