1. Since 2009 when the state government created Tasrail as a state owned company after our rail network had seen years of neglect the Labor party has been committed to rebuilding a competitive and reliable rail freight network and we have seen much success to this end.
If elected, I will wholeheartedly support the investment in excess of $400m that is being made by the Labor party, both state and federally to continue to revitalise the state’s rail network. This investment, which Includes new locomotives, new wagons and replacing/refurbishing the below rail asset (ballast, drainage, sleepers, rail, bridges and culverts), is fundamental to the future of rail and I will stand up to ensure this continues.
To see this investment continue into the future and to build on the important work Tasrail has already done, I will support Tasrail’s application to Infrastructure Australia for a further $240M of Federal funds under the Nation Building 2 Program and the future movement of bulk freight by rail.
2. The Tasmanian Labor government created this model because it saw the opportunity to move freight off road and onto rail to support greater freight efficiency across the state and to help make our roads even safer.
Given the amount of investment going into the network, I believe it makes sense that rail stays in public hands.
3. The construction of the $77m freight hub at Brighton by the State Government is a generational opportunity to provide capacity and efficiencies for Tasmanian freight. It will reduce transit times between the south and Northern ports and reduce traffic and congestion on the southern reaches of the Brooker Highway by removing bulk freight travelling by road to the waterfront. It will therefore have a major benefit not only to the freight task in Tasmania but will help everyday commuter traffic to move quicker and more safely.
While this will remove the need for the rail line from Brighton into Hobart, I have sought and been given assurance from Tasrail that the rail corridor to Hobart will be retained as a non-operational line and therefore open for future use.
4. The secret to public transport in any city is to ensure it is safe, clean and reliable.
While Tasmania and Hobart do not have the population to sustain full scale multi-platform public transport networks like we see in Melbourne and Sydney, this should not be seen as a disadvantage but rather an opportunity to develop smarter transport ideas.
A quality public transport network is one that is connected to bike and walking paths, city fringe car parks and runs regularly and frequently.
Fundamentally we must invest in improving the infrastructure we have and ensuring it is easy to use, functional, consistent and inviting for the whole community.
5. While the creation of a large scale passenger railway would be welcomed by any small community, the analysis committed to, and undertaken by the State Government through the Light Rail Business Case for Hobart’s northern suburbs however shows such an investment would be costly and therefore not provide community benefit for the significant funds it would cost.
While we must, as a priority, address issues of social exclusion caused by a lack of suitable transport connections into places like the Northern suburbs we have a responsibility to invest in solutions that show real positive outcomes for local communities.
At a time when we must be considering ways to support our elderly and disabled communities better and keep cost of living to a sustainable level in the context of rising power prices nationally, the expenditure of over $80 million dollars for inflexible transport infrastructure that will require an ongoing subsidy of up to $10 million every year does not seem to be the right approach for Tasmanians.
6. There have been a whole range of transport proposals put forward of both a functional public transport nature and of a tourist nature. With proposals of varying degrees of merit from cable cars up the mountain to city trams, monorails, underground tunnels and city bypasses, the discussion of transport proposals is broad and diverse. I believe it is vitally important that the community has these discussions and with unlimited funds all of these things could be achieved - but that of course is not the reality.
The most important thing is that governments of all levels, private investors and community start having these discussion not in isolations but through a proper process and under the right regulatory framework that supports sensible and visionary transport proposals.
Over the last few months I have established the Summit Action Group and held community meetings to bring people together to discuss future tourist developments on Mount Wellington. Through sensible regulatory change which promotes develop we will see government and the private sector be able to work together to invest in both tourist and public transport.
Through governments working together with the community and the private sector, not operating in isolation, we can test ideas such as Trams to North Hobart and creating a water ferry network connecting our communities and see real steps taken in developing Hobart and Tasmania.
I will continue to support people who have real and visionary proposals that will help our community be more connected.
7. Fundamentally the best approach to increasing public transport usage exists in increasing service frequency, especially on priority routes, refurbishing and enlivening public transport stops, providing enclosed safe bus waiting areas, building bicycle storage facilities and develop ticketing systems and pricing scales that support an easy, efficient and reliable transport network.
If public transport is safe, clean and reliable - people will use it.
8. Bus priority lanes and clearways are an important component of successful on-road public transport networks. They support reliability of public transport services and reduce travel times of buses on key routes and we must consider these solutions in making public transport more appealing.
Systems that give buses priority ahead of other traffic; including bus lanes, traffic light priority and restricted parking, that can also support car-pooling and bicycle use need to be a part of our solution to congestion on key traffic routes into the CBD.
By trialling these systems during peak travel times and allowing general traffic and parking to return during other times we can support public transport while also not frustrating other road users.
9. Cars and buses will continue to be a major form of transport for people in Hobart so we must work to integrate cycling into this mix. We must work to create a generation that embraces cycling as a part of the transport landscape which means working with the community and helping to bring safe cycling onto our transport links in harmony.
I strongly recognise the importance of cycling infrastructure in Tasmania, as a healthy, non-emission transport option and the role it will play in counteracting congestion in our city.
The Labor party has for a long time been committed to cycling and cycling infrastructure and I will push for this to continue and to be extended.
We have seen the labor party support the Trails and Bikeways Program as a 2008-09 Budget commitment, worth over $4 million. Through this investment and through breeding strong relationships with local government, community clubs and the private sector we actually saw over $10 million invested in in trail and bikeway development across Tasmania.
The Cycleway Development Fund, created in 2010-11 is also continuing to provide funds to a number of projects around the State. Through the development of the Walking and Cycling for Active Transport Strategy by the State Government my commitment as a member of the Labor party to cycling infrastructure is very clear.
10. While Hobart’s urban congestion rates are by far the lowest of any major city across the nation, we must work smart to make sure getting around Hobart remains congestion free.
The ease at which we can get around our beautiful city is one of the reasons why people love living in Hobart so much and if elected as the member for Hobart I will stand up for smart, connected and diverse transport options to ensure this way of life continues.