Greens candidate for Denison, Anna Reynolds, is urging ALP candidate Jane Austin to use the Prime Minister’s Hobart visit to support Federal Government transport funding for a light rail project before maintaining the Brooker Highway.

Anna Reynolds said that Federal funding of over $200 million for Brooker Highway maintenance would be of marginal benefit and a wasted opportunity for the people of Hobart.

“Spending infrastructure funds on the Brooker Highway is a very mediocre project that is not forward thinking and not strategic. The average person in Hobart would barely notice the impact of this work.”

Ms Reynolds said that the northern suburbs would be much better served by a light rail project that links them to the city. This would cost $100 million less than the Brooker Highway upgrades and make a substantial change to the quality of life and cost of living for many people in the Denison electorate.

The ALP candidate is quoted in Hobart media as using the Prime Minister’s visit to promote the need for improvements to the Brooker Highway. Ms Austin is promoting the State Government’s recent funding submission to Infrastructure Australia that proposes to spend over $200 million on engineering plans to address “local connectivity”, “junction upgrades” at five intersections, and the widening of the Domain interchange.

“There is a reason that the Infrastructure Australia Advisory Panel did not recommend this Brooker Highway proposal in its 2011 infrastructure recommendations – it’s a dud and does not fulfil the criteria that Federally funded infrastructure should meet”, said Ms Reynolds.

People in the northern suburbs have limited public transport options and are paying a high percentage of their household budgets on running several cars. Tasmanians share the highest per capita car ownership in Australia with WA. The State Government’s cost of living studies show that Tasmanian households are spending more of their household income on transport than any other state.

“Average weekly household expenditure on transport in Tasmania is 16.9% of total household expenditure - higher than any other goods or services except food. How is the Brooker Highway upgrade going to help fix this?” Ms Reynolds said.

Denison also has an aging population and a very high percentage of people with disabilities that have difficulties with car-based transport. A more strategic investment would be a public transport project that meets environmental, social and economic goals.

Anna Reynolds
Greens Candidate for Denison