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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

ACTCOSS calls for transparency on light rail stage two

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) is calling on the ACT Government to address the public transport needs of vulnerable and low-income Canberrans alongside the light rail stage two project.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said the ACT Government needs to be transparent about the cost of the light rail stage two project, given it will come at a significant cost to the ACT Budget.

“If investment in light rail is done at the expense of further investment in public housing, health or community services, broader consultation with the Canberra community must be undertaken,” she said.

Dr Campbell said the organisation would like to see a needs analysis to assess issues including accessibility, routes and cost for Canberrans using public transport.

“Canberra’s overall transport strategy must ensure that all Canberrans, including older people, people with disability, shift workers, people on low incomes and people with other complex needs can access a flexible, appropriate and safe transport system,” she said.

“On-demand transport alongside mass transit options must also be included in any transport strategy so that people remain connected with the community – especially older people and people with disabilities.”

ACTCOSS has outlined its concerns in a submission to the ACT Government, which also included a recommendation for a cost-benefit analysis to be undertaken on making public transport free.

Dr Campbell said the organisation’s recent report on the cost of living in the Territory highlighted the increase in public transport costs in Canberra – which is growing faster than the national average.

“The ACT Government must ensure that concessions are targeted at those who need them most.”

ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel has not yet responded to Canberra Weekly’s request for comment.

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