The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on transport. We asked:
- What is your position on light rail?
- How will you improve public transport in the ACT, specifically for young people?
- How will you improve road safety for young drivers?
The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below.
Click here for a snapshot of their policies on transport.
The ACT Labor Government is fully committed to delivering a high quality transport system in Canberra. In 2012, we took the development of the first stage of light rail to the election, and now we are delivering on that promise. We are beginning construction imminently, with construction to be complete in 2018, and operations commencing in early 2019.
It is important for young people to note that the Liberal Opposition has said they will rip up the contracts for light rail, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars for no community benefit.
Canberra’s light rail will run on 100% renewable energy and it will play an important part of our move away from fossil fuels, while providing a genuine alternative to driving. Labor is also committed to future stages of light rail – we have released a consultation paper of potential future routes, and will announce Stage 2 before the election.
Building a better public transport system in Canberra isn’t just about light rail – my government is also investing $61.7 million into the bus network. We are creating a Transport Canberra City Loop, running every 10 minutes between 7am and 7pm, which means you will be able to get around Civic, the ANU and Braddon free of charge.
We’re buying 20 new buses, and creating a direct bus service from Weston Creek to Civic. Canberra is the first city to legalise Uber, which is providing people with a cheaper, faster and easier alternative to taxis.
My government is also making it easier to get around Canberra by walking and cycling. We’re making upgrades in Woden and Kingston town centres to make walking and cycling corridors safe and accessible, as well as creating a pedestrian priority zone in Gungahlin.
We’re also expanding the Ride and Walk to School program, bringing the total number of participating schools up to 108. This program provides bikes for students to use, while offering bike maintenance and safety lessons to kids to help keep them safe on our roads.
My government is investing more than $111 million into building better and safer roads. These improvements are right across Canberra, from Gungahlin and Belconnen to Weston Creek and Tuggeranong. We are also investing $7.1 million to make sure Canberrans are safe on the roads, which includes better traffic cameras.
The Canberra Liberals do not support the introduction of light rail from Gungahlin to the City. The Canberra Liberals believe that there are more deserving projects and issues that warrant the funding.
The Canberra Liberals are very concerned that the cost of properties on the route may force people on low incomes to move away and experience transport disadvantage. In fact, many of the replacement public housing properties that are being constructed or acquired are far from the light rail corridor. Under light rail, many direct buses to the city will be cancelled and people will be forced to interchange from a bus to a tram. This is not only time consuming but can also be very difficult, especially for people with a disability.
The light rail system will cost $707 million to build and an average of $64 million per year to finance and operate. The Government’s projections are that the system will carry less than 1% of Canberrans to work or school every morning. Furthermore, traffic assessments have indicated that light rail will actually make congestion on Northbourne Avenue worse.
At such a huge construction cost and annual bill, the Canberra Liberals are also concerned about the financial burden that will rest with future generations of taxpayers.
Instead of building light rail, the Canberra Liberals will make improvements to the ACTION network. Improving the ACTION Network comes at a fraction of the cost of building and operating light rail, as well providing a service which benefits all Canberrans.
In March, the Canberra Liberals released our public transport policy for this year’s ACT election. The system would feature eight rapid bus routes across Canberra late night services. More information about our policy can be found at www.canberrastransportfuture.com.au
Our vision is for a bus network that is so frequent, people won’t need to know the timetable because there is always a service less than 15 minutes away. At the heart of our reforms to public transport will be the passenger. We will commit to improving the quality of service in every respect, including routes, the experience, infrastructure, information and governance. We are committed to community transport solutions and a system that serves people with disabilities and minimises transport disadvantage. Unlike light rail, a modern bus system can minimise transfers and serve the entire city.
The Canberra Liberals are yet to release our Roads and Parking policy. We are however looking at a number of road safety initiatives to improve road safety for younger drivers. The Canberra Liberals have announced policy that will see the roll out of flashing signs in school zones which will further assist in reducing speed, a major road safety factor.
Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella
Canberra cannot afford the Gungahlin to the City light rail project. The proposed route is not financially viable and represents a significant risk to taxpayers.
If light rail is constructed across the city, commute times will be no better than the current bus system. The first stage of light rail will travel at an average speed of 30km per hour. That speed will ensure young people living in outer suburbs continue to suffer from long commute times.
To improve public transport for young people, the Government must address slow transit times associated with catching ACTION buses. The Government also needs to investigate building dedicated bus lanes, which would allow buses to avoid traffic and peak hour congestion.
In regard to improving road safety, I would investigate the option of subsidising defensive driver training. The Government must facilitate as many opportunities to gain real life experience, prior to obtaining a licence. Young drivers would benefit greatly from being able to access training courses more readily and at a lower cost.
The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT