ACT Greens podcast

Shane Rattenbury

A podcast for the ACT Greens' elected representatives to talk about the big ideas they've been working on. Authorised by Shane Rattenbury MLA for the ACT Greens. read less
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The 2023 bus timetable. Ft. Jo Clay MLA.
16-02-2023
The 2023 bus timetable. Ft. Jo Clay MLA.
On Monday 30th January Network 2023 was launched. Canberra’s bus users are not happy, I have heard this loud and clear. We are trying to encourage more people to use public transport in the short term due to construction disruption in the city, and in the longer term to address climate change and traffic congestion. But this network has gone backwards. Canberrans want a better bus network. People from all across Canberra in all parts of the community and from all walks of life have spoken to me about the need to improve our bus network. This is why I passed a motion last May in order to improve bus services by delivering minimum hourly services across the weekend and to see a return to a full bus network in 2022. Unfortunately, we have not seen either delivered yet. We also have not seen the full transition away from Disability Discrimination Act non-compliant buses. I understand the supply issues detailed by the Minister earlier this week. That was a really detailed explanation and I thank the Minister for being so open about the issues. I understand the role COVID has had to play in this. But the ACT Government has had 20 years to become compliant with the new standard. The Minister’s statement on Tuesday set out that the Government only finalised the procurement of the last 26 leased diesel buses to replace the remainder of the non-compliant buses in March 2022, nine Months before the due date. In an environment where we knew that Covid was creating significant supply chain constraints, we should not have left such an important procurement until 5 minutes to midnight. Accessibility is essential for many Canberrans who have no other option but to rely on our public transport network. I want many more to use our public transport network as their best and first choice, not as their only option. We must do better. All of these people have been let down by the delays in this procurement. We need to plan our upgrades better and implement them earlier. We also need to deliver our infrastructure on time. We need a greater level of investment into building new infrastructure, including the long-awaited Woden Bus Depot, so that we can expand the bus network. Despite contracts being signed in 2018 for the design and construction of the Woden Zero-Emissions Bus Depot, it was only last week that $26.3m was announced to deliver the electrical infrastructure upgrades to facilitate these buses at Woden and Tuggeranong. We have had no announcement at all about electrical upgrades to facilitate zero-emissions buses at Belconnen or any other future northside depot. The September 2020 Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra put forward that the Woden Bus Depot would be completed by 2022 with another zero-emissions bus depot delivered by 2026. We are not on track. We are delayed. In November in response to my question on notice we found out that the Woden Depot is now not expected to be delivered until late 2024. I am lodging more questions with the Minister this week. I want to find out when we’ll get a fourth bus depot for Canberra. I am concerned that this new zero-emissions depot may not be completed by the original deadline of 2026 based on what I’ve seen so far. We need more buses. We have not increased our bus fleet in line with our growing city and growing population, in fact in the last 33 years our bus fleet has shrunk. In 1990 the ACT had around 282 thousand residents. In 2022 we had more than 456 thousand residents. That’s a population growth of more than 61%. We have also grown geographically. Every single year new suburbs are being built. Lawson, Whitlam, Molonglo, Ginninderry, Jacka, Kenny and more. In 1990, ACTION had 479 buses and this year we have 456. That is 23 fewer buses in our fleet 33 years later. This is why we need to choose which services to run during our disruptions. We do not have enough buses. How can we deliver improved services to all these new suburbs and new people, and maintain our existing suburb routes, if we are running fewer buses than we had over 30 years ago? Light rail is our great public transport success. I love light rail. The people who use it love it. I want to see it expand as soon as possible. But Light Rail is just one part of our public and active transport network. We must also invest more in our buses. We must transition faster to zero-emissions buses. We need more bus lanes and bus priority measures, more bus shelters and better footpaths connecting them. Without this investment, next year’s bus network will be no better than this year. That will be the same story every year until we plan properly and invest sufficiently. We won’t have a better bus network until we have more buses and improved bus infrastructure. I want to quote from the 2022 Infrastructure Australia Market Capacity Report. That report is not about ACT infrastructure specifically. It is about Australian infrastructure and it sets out the situation that will apply to all major projects from here on. That report said, and I quote, “the market is arguably at capacity, so project slippage is now expected. It is no longer a question of if a project will slip, but more likely when, by how long and at what cost.” I would also like to amplify one of their recommendations. They said we must “Improve industry capacity and capability by prioritising procurement and portfolio management and increasing pipeline transparency, certainty and confidence.” It is going to get harder to deliver major projects and to do it well and on time. So when deciding on transport infrastructure priorities we need to prioritise. We need to choose public transport and active travel first. The Greens understand this. It is essential if we are going to reduce our climate emissions and keep Canberra as a liveable city we can all move around in comfort. We need to plan well and follow through. We need to invest properly. We need to prioritise clearly. If we don’t, we will continue to have a bus service that does not meet the needs of our people.
ACT Greens support light rail as an environmentally friendly transport solution for better city living. Ft. Jo Clay MLA
16-01-2023
ACT Greens support light rail as an environmentally friendly transport solution for better city living. Ft. Jo Clay MLA
This is an opinion piece published in the Canberra Times on 11 January 2023. Canberrans deserve a well-connected city, where they have a choice to live close to work and amenities, and a city built on principles of sustainability. High-quality, frequent, reliable, and sustainable public transport is central to that vision. Building light rail is about taking long-term decisions that address the serious challenges this city faces in the future - population growth, congestion, climate action and urban sprawl. Canberra's population will grow by around 100,000 people in the next decade. How will they move around? Our congestion is growing three times faster than that of other mainland capitals. A total of 63 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from transport, mostly cars. The annual lost productivity cost of road congestion in the ACT is predicted to exceed $500 million by 2031. If we want a different outcome, we can't keep doing what we did before. Whether they lack the foresight, the imagination, or the fortitude, it is untenable for the Canberra Liberals to have no vision to address the reality of these challenges. Our city needs solutions, not platitudes. Experts across the disciplines, from town planners to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are clear on how cities should develop. We can't solve climate change or congestion by building more roads. More roads just fill up with more cars. Instead, we need high-quality denser housing based around great public transport and walking and cycling corridors. The ACT Greens understand that we must invest in new public transport infrastructure such as light rail to make Canberra more sustainable and liveable as we grow. While any new public transport infrastructure will have a short- to medium-term cost, the longer-term cost of doing nothing is significantly greater. Those who have used light rail between Gungahlin and the city have already seen the benefits. We know that 43 per cent of people surveyed on light rail said they never used public transport before using light rail. The network will be even more useful once it connects to the fast-growing Parliamentary Triangle, Inner South, and Woden, and later to Belconnen, Russell, the airport, Tuggeranong, and other key places. Three months ago, the Commonwealth announced a new national security precinct in the Parliamentary Triangle for 5000 staff. If the Canberra Liberals had their way, would these staff drive from their homes out in Kowen or west of the Murrumbidgee River and park in Barton, significantly increasing emissions, congestion, and worsening Canberra's quality of life? The preferable alternative would be to give people the opportunity to live closer to where they work, to opt for a home on a dedicated public transport corridor. In this term of government, the ACT Greens have consistently argued in the Legislative Assembly for more and better buses, a faster transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet and faster delivery of light rail stages 2 and beyond. Not only has Stage 1 in Canberra been a great success, there are also many other examples of light rail being rolled out, such as the Gold Coast and Newcastle. While the NSW Liberal government has already committed to the project, NSW Labor has now promised to accelerate the Parramatta light rail as part of their election platform. Locally, we have seen welcome support from Federal governments of both persuasions, with the former Coalition government committing $132.5 million, and the Albanese government adding $85.9 million of funding. Canberra is a growing and evolving city. The vision of distant suburbs connected by wide, expensive freeways was in vogue in the 1970s, but this century's reality is we need something different. We need focused investment in schools, hospitals, local amenities, and high-quality, frequent, reliable, and sustainable public transport, including light rail. This is something the ACT Greens understand and will keep working to deliver.
Speech to the 2022 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards. Ft. Emma Davidson MLA
13-12-2022
Speech to the 2022 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards. Ft. Emma Davidson MLA
Speech given 7 December 2022: Dhawura nguna dhawura Ngunnawal. This is Ngunnawal Country. Tonight we are gathering on Ngunnawal country. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Sovereignty was never ceded. I pay my respects to First Nations elders past and present and acknowledge them for their nurturing of future leaders, and I acknowledge any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today.   I know many people and families have a connection to the ACT and Region. Canberra has always been a place where people come together to share knowledge and ideas.   To become a truly reconciled nation, to be able to truly care for country and for each other, we must listen to, understand and support First Nations people. This is why truth, treaty and voice is so important, and it’s why I will be supporting a referendum for an Indigenous voice to Parliament, as well as the work of truth-telling and treaties. VIPs • Mr Dylan Alcott AO, Current Australian of the Year • Aunty Violet Sheridan, Ngunnawal Elder • Members of the ACT Inclusion Council • 2022 Inclusion Awards judges • 2022 Sponsors • Members of the ACT Disability Reference Group MLA’s • Mr Andrew Barr MLA, ACT Chief Minister • Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, Minister for Health   • All the finalists and their supporters present tonight.   Good evening everyone.   Can I just start by saying, you all look amazing tonight. This is the first time I’ve been to the Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards, and it’s a pretty awesome night, isn’t it?   Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of people with disability in our community, and to value allies of people with disability working to change the world for the better.   And it’s been a heck of a year, right? I want to take you back, just for a moment, to January 2022. I was supposed to have a week off work, my first proper break since I started this job in November 2020. But that week, Canberra was hit by the Omicron wave, and the supercell storm that took out power for hundreds of houses and caused massive damage and disruption. I think a lot of us, particularly people who have the least personal capacity to adapt to living in isolation without reliable electricity, were feeling pretty down.   And then we had the Australian of the Year announcements. I remember sitting in my lounge room, watching Dylan Alcott’s speech, and just cheering “yes!”   Because Dylan was talking about everything that was already on my to do list: • Look after people, especially those most at risk, during COVID-19. • Make the NDIS work the way it should. • Get more people with disability into employment. • And for people with disability to have pride in themselves.   And we’re doing these things. On the day Dylan made that speech, the ACT Government made the decision to provide free Rapid Antigen Tests to every disability in home support worker, even though the Commonwealth wasn’t willing to fund it at the time. No cost, no hassle, we just did it. Thank you, Chief Minister, for supporting that.   Working with the current Commonwealth Minister and other State Ministers, and an NDIA Board with more representation from people with lived experience of disability than ever before, we are taking on the big task of the NDIS Review. And I am very happy that the terms of reference include things that I advocated strongly for, like assessing the value of the NDIS not just the financial costs. And that any future changes to the NDIS will be co-designed with people with disability, just as the original design of the NDIS was done with people with disability. And when I say co-design, I mean the real deal.   This is what we’ve been doing in the ACT this year in developing our new ten-year Disability Strategy for the ACT, setting the agenda for how we continue our journey to being the most accessible, inclusive, welcoming city in Australia.   As the Chief Minister mentioned earlier, the consultation for the ACT’s Strategy was co-designed and led by the ACT Disability Reference Group. Every conversation was led by people with disability. And it was not just inclusive, it was intersectional. We had people with disability leading conversations about their experience and goals as people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, as First Nations people, as members of the LGBTIQ+ community. I can’t pop out to get milk in this city without someone literally stopping me in the street to tell me what a great experience they had participating in the ACT Disability Strategy.   I thank the Disability Reference Group for co-designing the consultation and all the facilitators for the time and energy they invested in delivering such productive consultation events. And to every person who participated – thank you. You have given me the next decade of to do lists. And can I please get a cheer for the Chief Minister and Treasurer who I’m sure is looking forward to my requests to fund all the good things we’re going to do   Employment is one area that came through very clearly in the ACT Disability Strategy consultations, just as it did in Dylan’s speech back in January. We are listening, and we are acting on it.   This group of people in the room tonight are excellent champions for these changes and the right people to be allies and supporters of this work. It reinforces to me the importance of the last piece of work I did with Sue Salthouse, just a few years ago, trying to get better data on unemployment for women with disabilities in the ACT. Meaningful, interesting work with a true living wage should be accessible to everyone, and it makes such a difference to our lives. Cultural and systemic change is a challenging, long-term proposition that requires ongoing effort and commitment.   Which brings me to the last thing on Dylan’s to do list from last January: for people with disability to have pride in themselves.   Disability pride is a growing chorus that I hear throughout the community. Seeing the diversity of the way our bodies and minds work as a strength, and taking pride in disability being part of identity, is challenging. It’s not what we’ve all internalised over our lives about what disability means.   But the truth is, our community is facing some big problems, and we need the voices of people with disability at every decision making table. We’re facing the existential threats of living with COVID, climate change, the growing inequality crisis, a world in conflict. We need your creativity, your talents, your flexibility and adaptability, your ideas if we’re going to solve this. We need all of you.   If we’re going to build a better world, we have to do things differently so we don’t just build back more of the same. We need people who see things differently, have different life experiences, think differently. It’s a different world, and we’re going to make it a better one together. I encourage you to push me to shake things up.   Thank you to all our finalists this evening who are putting these values into actions to ensure we all belong, participate and flourish, and that we all look out for each other.   I wish all our finalists the very best of luck this evening, however I know you are all winners and I thank you for making my community a better place to be!   Enjoy your evening everyone.   ENDS.
Looking back on 2022, and forward to 2023! Ft. Emma Davidson MLA
09-12-2022
Looking back on 2022, and forward to 2023! Ft. Emma Davidson MLA
As the Minister for a range of portfolios that fundamentally covers “People” 2022 has been a very busy year. Here are a few of the highlights: - We’ve made real progress towards the ACT’s first residential eating disorders clinic in Coombs. It’s going to be a beautiful place for people to get the help they need. - We made amendments to the Senior Practitioners Act to increase the safety of people in care, at risk of restrictive practices, to manage behaviour and keep everyone safe. - The Safe Haven in Belconnen has been in operation this year for people experiencing needing help with their mental health. The data is in, showing this facility has been a real help to Canberrans in need. - 2022 has also been a successful year for the Garran step-up/step-down service. We are expanding these services because the evidence shows they are working. - Another highlight of the last year was successfully advancing the idea that the review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) should take note of the value of the scheme, and not just its costs. We were also able to argue that future changes need to be co-designed with people with a disability. - 2022 also saw the ACT’s co-design process for our disability strategy. I want to thank the more than 1,000 people who were involved in the process. In 2023 we want to roll out more of the mental health services which we have shown can really help people. More safe havens, more step-up/step-down facilities, more services delivered in the community.  We will also see an early intervention service for eating disorders commencing in the new year. Next year the work really starts with putting in place the supports for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility, to help young people make better choices. I’m also looking forward to the work we are going to do on the social recovery from COVID, talking to NGOs and the community sector about making sure this process is community led and government supported. A big priority for next year is working on the community understanding of disability. I want to thank the community for all the advice and feedback they have given me throughout the last year and I look forward to that continuing in 2023. I hope you enjoy the summer period and I look forward to hearing from you next year!
Looking back on 2022, and forward to 2023! Ft. Shane Rattenbury MLA
07-12-2022
Looking back on 2022, and forward to 2023! Ft. Shane Rattenbury MLA
As 2022 comes to a close, I think the Greens in Government can look back in pride at what we’ve accomplished this year. I’m particularly struck by the translation of ACT Greens policies and promises into real action in the ACT - a great testament to the Greens’ efforts here in the ACT to work as Ministers in a power sharing Government.  Just a couple of examples just from my own Ministerial portfolios, for example: - We’re charging ahead on EVs. We have set targets for the end of internal combustion engines and generous incentives to promote their uptake. And it’s working with EV sales really starting to take off here in recent months. - We’ve secured government agreement to end the use of fossil fuel gas in the ACT and to electrify the city. This nation leading work is crucial to reaching zero net emissions, tackling climate change and making the ACT an exemplar sustainable city. - We’re leading more nation leading reforms to strengthen the protection of tenants in rental housing by putting an end to “no-cause evictions” and setting new minimum standards for energy efficiency in rental properties. Tenants will have better security, more comfortable and safe housing, as well as energy bill relief. As we look forward to 2023 we will be raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, and eventually 14 as we set about removing children from the criminal justice system. We also have a lot of exciting work to do delivering on our climate strategies. And there is so much more, both that we’ve achieved, and that we will achieve in coming years! Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past year. I hope you all have a merry festive season and I look forward to working with you in the new year!
Marking National Threatened Species Day. Featuring Rebecca Vassarotti MLA
07-09-2022
Marking National Threatened Species Day. Featuring Rebecca Vassarotti MLA
Today is National Threatened Species Day which has occurred annually for 86 years in commemoration of Australia’s Tasmanian tiger, marked as extinct on 7 September 1936. I marked the day this morning at the Birdscaping landscape plantings on David St in O’Connor. The ACT Government continues to take urgent action to protect all threatened plant and animal species. We are fortunate to have so many unique species right in our backyard, and I call upon Canberrans to join the fight to protect our beloved but threatened native plants and animals. In the 2022-23 budget, the ACT Government invested $2.95 million over two years to study, expand and strengthen critical habitat zones across Canberra. These zones will provide vital connectivity between existing zones and help further protect threatened native animal and plant species from the effects of climate change and urbanisation. Other measures that Canberrans can take to protect threatened plant and animal species include planting bird attracting plants in your garden, joining a local volunteer group like the Canberra Ornithologists Group, and keeping your cats contained.  Next month, I look forward to taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and helping to monitor our flying friends. In the meantime, if you spot a rare bird or animal, you can enter your sightings online through Canberra Nature Map, iNaturalist or eBird. Every sighting can help inform important conservation decisions. Learn more about threatened species and communities on the ACT Environment website → https://www.environment.act.gov.au/