A report launched today by the Australian Conservation Foundation and an alliance of unions, local government, health and environmental groups calling for greater investment in public transport is especially relevant to Perth, Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam says.
‘Investing in Sustainable Transport: Our Clean Green Transport Future’, by the ACF and the Rapid, Active and Affordable Transport Alliance, calls for two-thirds of Australia’s transport budget to be spent on public transport and one-third on roads.
The report says that $14 billion of the past five years’ Auslink funding went to roads and $1.2 billion to rail.
“The State Government seems to assume that petrol and diesel will stay cheap forever and we can continue to plan for limitless urban sprawl,” Senator Ludlam said.
“But when oil prices inevitably rise, life for people in Perth’s middle and outer suburbs will become extremely difficult.
“When it costs $500 to fill up your car, Perth's famed liveability will be just a memory.
“We need to take our cue from other cities around the world and change our thinking.
“The Greens’ proposal for a light rail network in Perth is one suggestion. Many others have come forward in the national public transport inquiry I initiated last year.
“New development needs to be planned around public transport and we need to address the existing black spots where there is little or no public transport now. It is going to take time to build the infrastructure that will make this city resilient – the earlier we start, the better off we will be.
“Very few, if anyone, would say Perth’s existing network is a mistake – even the fiercest critics of the Perth-to-Mandurah Line went strangely quiet once it opened and they saw people using it in big numbers.”
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