Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Western Sydney Left Standing In The Rain

Earlier this year Western Sydney Community Forum wrote to the Minister responsible for Infrastructure Austalia suggesting that bus stop infrastructure had potential as a "job ready" project which would also help achieve the social inclusion and sustainability objectives that the Government had described for itself.

Western Sydney Community Forum wrote:

"Bus stop infrastructure is very important to improve social inclusion,
reduce transport disadvantage and increase the take-up of public transport
in the general community. Increased use of public transport is an important
part of reducing road trauma and greenhouse gas emissions.

Local government struggles to meet the demands on their resources for bus infrastructure and are sometimes less than enthusiastic about meeting these responsibilities.

Given that the Federal Government is interested in start-ready infrastructure projects to assist with the slowing economy in 2009 and;

Given that the Federal Government has a renewed interest in the provision of public infrastructure to improve the productive capacity of the Australian economy and;

Given that the Federal Government has a stated interest in improving social inclusion in Australian society and;

Given that the Disability Discrimination Act (2002) is Commonwealth legislation;

WSCF recommends that the Commonwealth financially assists Local Government to invest in bus stop infrastructure, particularly in Western Sydney.

WSCF also supports the establishment of a Bus Stop Infrastructure Corporation responsible to ensure all bus stops have sufficient investment in them, are maintained properly and made accessible in a reasonable time."

The Minister responded with:

"I agree that bus stop infrastructure is an important community facility and an
integral part of the public transport infrastructure. However, provision of
public transport and facilities is a state government responsibility.

Although the Rudd Government is now allocating record funding to local government, it does not have a role in the day to day operations of local government or the priorities that local government give to the development of community infrastructure."

There about 10,000 bus stops in Western Sydney and, if you provided accessibility and shelter for half these stops (they don't all need it), at a cost of about $15,000 per stop, it would cost a total of $75m.

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