(People's Parliament, NSW Parliament House)
Green transport is about giving people more options to get around, from:
- Catching a bus;
- Train or taxi; or
- Using light rail; or
- Car share vehicles.
In a transport network that is working well, these choices would be the quickest, cheapest and most attractive options.
Like most of you here today I am very concerned about traffic and congestion.
If people run late or goods cannot be delivered on time, there is an economic cost. Congestion already costs us around $4.6 billion a year and if nothing changes that will rise to a staggering $8 billion in 2015.
The solution is finding the right transport system for all of Sydney - whether its east or west, north or south.
Over the term of this State Government we've had on average of one transport plan every year and yet not one fully delivered.
That's not one fully delivered in 16 years.
Governments have been quick to try to address congestion by building more roads but research and experience tells us that more roads are not the answer.
Sydney is grinding to a halt. It's becoming impossible to fit more cars on the road so we need to develop a system that supports all forms of transport:
- Public transport;
- Walking; and
The Government's current way of doing things is not working.
Why do express services on long-haul buses and trains disappear at 6pm when we know Australians work longer than most people in the world?
Why do people have to pay each time they swap from a bus to a train to a ferry when elsewhere in the world, and in other Australian cities, they only pay once?
How can a Government justify saying that the greatest population growth will be in the north-west but then build a train system in the south-west?
Why build a tunnel to encourage drivers off gridlocked city streets but then charge exorbitant tolls so people avoid it.
For years I have said that Sydney needs a single State transport authority to coordinate services of all modes of transport, including roads.
What does that mean in practice? It means the Government needs to stop agencies and ministries competing against each other and instead work together to develop an integrated transport plan under the authority (direction) of a single Minister;
- Guaranteed Budget; and
- Legislated commitment and prioritised timetable - so that it is actioned.
No more big promises followed by costly cancellations (like the Metro).
74 per cent of people travel to work into the City by public transport daily and we are working to ease congestion with bike riding networks, better quality walking routes, encouraging car share and supporting more taxi ranks.
I believe it is important to give people who live close to the city options for shorter trips and that's why the City is building a 200 kilometres cycleway network.
We know cycling is not for everyone but more and more people are getting on a bike, and we need to make it safe and viable for those who do want the option.
Although the network is not finished yet, we know the moment we finish a bike link people start using it.
Over the past year the number of bike trips has doubled and tripled on cycleway links we've built so far.
Cycling, however is just one small part of a transport network.
I have long called for the extension of light rail and I was heartened by the Opposition's commitment last week.
One light rail vehicle can replace three crowded buses or 150 cars and it's:
- More reliable; and
- More accessible.
It will reduce congestion and produce less greenhouse gas emissions.
But we can't have light rail without serious bus reform - the city centre has too many buses, the more the Government crams in, the more unreliable they become.
The endless line of buses choking our city centre is proof of a failed bus system.
Sydney deserves better.
We deserve public transport that connects all parts frequently, reliably and affordably.
These ideas are not new - cycleways and well managed, affordable light rail, train and bus services exist in many cities around the world.
Things can change.
And I believe they can with leadership and the political will to make it happen.
The new government on March 27 needs to be bold and look to the future as Bradfield did when constructing our Harbour Bridge and the rail network.
There should be no more announcements and cancellations.
We need big thinking;
We need the big ideas backed up with real funding; and
We need big commitment and most of all we need action.