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Thursday, May 13, 2021

ACT adjusts to new network

Canberra’s new public transport network, Network 19, began services on Monday 29 April, with the integration of the new bus timetable and the long awaited light rail.

100,000 people reportedly caught the light rail in its first week of operations, with reports on Monday of carriages packed full. Buses no longer travel down the Northbourne Avenue corridor, with commuters funnelled onto the light rail.

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said journey planners were available to assist people in working out how to get around on the new network.

She said the timetable was published in March following the release of the new network last year to give commuters plenty of time to prepare for the change. “We know this will be a big change for many people, but we hope Canberrans will make the most of the month of free travel that starts today (29 April) to give the network a try.”

Transport Canberra deployed customer service officers at major hubs to help people with navigating the new routes.

The “hub and spoke” model of the new network means many passengers now have to change buses at interchanges before getting another service to their final destinations. A number of dedicated school services were also cut, leaving some primary and high schools to catch regular routes to school and change services at interchanges in the morning and afternoons. The school service cuts were cause for great concern, with community feedback from worried parents and schools.

For more information, visit transport.act.gov.au

Network charge to rise 2.5%

Late last month, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) made a final revenue determination for ACT power supplier Evoenergy that will see the annual network charge rise by 2.5% by 30 June 2024 compared to current levels.

This means the average annual network charge from Evoenergy will increase on average by $64 for residential and $231 higher for small business by 2024. As a result, Canberra homes can expect $13 added to their bill year-on-year over the next five years.

The AER’s decision determines about 27% of the customer bill in the ACT, and covers only the charges passed on from the distribution network. Other components of customer bills include jurisdictional charges (government green schemes, etc.), transmission, retail and wholesale energy costs.

Retail costs for regulated tariffs will not be determined until the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission hands down its pricing decision in early June.

Get checked for Heart Week

With Heart Week underway (28 April-4 May), the Heart Foundation is encouraging Canberrans to visit their doctor for a Medicare-funded Heart Health Check.

Indigenous Australians aged 30 and over and other Australians aged 45 up, can now see their GP to learn their risk of heart attack and stroke in the next five years.

As part of the check, your doctor will look at the risk factors that increase your likelihood of heart attack and stroke by reviewing your blood pressure, cholesterol, diet and lifestyle, and other factors such as family history.

Heart Foundation ACT CEO, Tony Stubbs said despite heart disease being the single biggest killer in the ACT, it’s often preventable.

“We know that many heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by addressing key risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol and other lifestyle choices.”

Risk factor statistics for the ACT include: nearly two in three Canberra adults are overweight or obese; just under one in five adults in the ACT has high blood pressure; and that men and women in the ACT have the lowest rate of adequate vegetable consumption in Australia (2.9% and 10.1%, respectively).

On a positive note, the ACT has the lowest rate of daily smokers in Australia, with one in ten Canberra adults partaking; and the ACT is the most physically active state or territory in Australia, despite four in five Canberrans not being active enough for good health.

For more visit heartfoundation.org.au/heartweek

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