01 June 2022
Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. R.A. Simms:
1. That a select committee of the Legislative Council be established to inquire into and report on public and active transport with particular reference to—
- (a) the availability and quality of public transport, including:
(i) infrastructure and services in metropolitan and regional areas;
(ii) the impact of fares and frequency; and
(iii) the efficacy and impacts of on-demand public transport.
- (b) the role of government in enabling and encouraging active transport, including:
(i) measures to enable more participation;
(ii) the effect on community health and wellbeing;
(iii) the effect on climate change mitigation; and
(iv) measures to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
- (c) the use of e-scooters and potential opportunities for expansion or further regulation;
- (d) any other related matters.
2. That this council permits the select committee to authorise the disclosure or publication, as it sees fit, of any evidence or documents presented to the committee prior to such evidence being presented to the council.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I am quite baffled to hear that the government are opposed to this. That is the first I have heard of it. It would have been—
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: —appropriate, I think, to have advised me of that prior to this being discussed. I will be bringing it to a vote, as indicated, and I will be seeking a division. It is pretty shocking, a day after supporting the declaration of a climate emergency, that the Labor government would seek to oppose establishing a committee to look at active transport and to look at public transport and the role of government in trying to encourage those things.
I find it extraordinary that the Labor Party would seek to do that and would break what I consider to be a convention in this place, that is that members wanting to establish select committees have the opportunity to do so, within reason. It is pretty extraordinary that a committee such as this would be opposed and pretty extraordinary that no-one in the government had the courtesy to advise the mover of their position. It is a very disappointing turn of events and a very bad omen for how things might operate in this chamber, I suggest.
From my perspective, this is a really important inquiry. We have seen public transport infrastructure neglected over many terms of parliament and by governments, of a range of persuasions. But we also have not seen an appropriate focus on active transport. We have not seen an examination of policies looking at what we can do to encourage walking, what we can do to encourage cycling. We know that is really important because motor vehicles are one the most significant sources of carbon emissions in our state. If we are serious about reducing carbon emissions, we need to look at alternative transport options.
This inquiry is simply going to come up with some suggestions and ideas and recommendations to government. I hope that this parliament will vote to establish such an important committee.