Tasmanian Times


LegCo report slams State Government on light rail

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, welcomed today’s release of the Legislative Council Government Administration Committee B’s report on sustainable public transport in Southern Tasmania.

Mr Wilkie said the report demonstrated the flaws in the State Government’s approach to the Hobart northern suburbs light rail project.

“The report clearly shows that the current proposal to have light rail service only between Hobart and Glenorchy is madness. It is self-evident that light rail should be extended to service MONA, the Austins Ferry-Granton growth corridor and through to Brighton,” Mr Wilkie said.

“The report also suggests that the project has suffered from ongoing mismanagement between State Government agencies and a refusal to consult with the broader community.

“This kind of project requires leadership and strategic vision for Hobart and Tasmania, something the State Government appears simply unable to deliver.

“The State Government needs to understand that an integrated light rail service to Hobart’s northern suburbs would spark real urban renewal with positive economic, social and environmental impacts beyond what can be recognised by a restricted cost-benefit analysis.

“I agree with the report that the current business case should be withdrawn due to its narrow scope so that the project can be comprehensively reassessed. Crucially, any new business case must adopt a genuine triple bottom line approach to consider the diverse community benefits from light rail.

“It’s ultimately very disappointing that light rail has been the victim of ongoing State Government incompetence. This project makes sense on every level and serious planning and construction should have begun years ago.”

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: Why light rail is the perfect fit

• James Crotty, in Comments: This is one project we should get excited about. The benefits of an integrated light rail service will be long-lasting and profound. This could be the beginning of something good. Get in touch with your local, state and federal pollies and get behind the proposal. Light rail works elsewhere, it will work here.

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  1. A.K.

    July 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    This is the wrong approach, those advocating light rail are still looking to use 19th century technology. This is a very expensive approach because all the infrastructure and vehicles will be imported, sending more of our money overseas and probably into the hands of multinationals. All it will do is stimulate corporate overseas profit growth, providing very little if any ongoing jobs and providing very little in the way of alleviating all the problems we face with current transport practices.

    Light rail requires the digging up of roads and disrupting traffic during construction, it also requires large amounts of overhead cabling, another unnecessary expense. Then we can add the time frame, which under the current approach will take 10 years before it will be of use and then, it will be useless.

    Running light rail on one track from Brighton to the CBD is great, but you require 21st century technology to feed the line from all urban area’s, plus alternative routes to the CBD. This does nothing but puts some imported rail cars on a single point A to B line with no feeder lines from surrounding suburbs.

    We need to utilise 21st century technology, develop and build our own electric transport system by utilising light rubber tyred electric vehicles running in channel tracks along the sides of some roads. They could be recharged at each stop, have solar panel roofs and regenerative braking, or a simple mechanism added to the inside of the channel carrying DC power.

    Designed and built here in Tas along with all the infrastructure, would simulate our economy and provide ongoing new jobs in new industries. The channel tracks could be prefabricated, installed quickly and cheaply, vehicles could be different sizes from 2 person to 10 and people would program their trip as they got in, or if they booked a vehicle. You could have booked vehicles and route ones which just ran back and forward on specific routes carrying a lot of people. Small ones could be fully computerized and automatic, route and large charters would have a driver. Build some to carry goods, linking up with the light rail, carry goods around Hobart and the Brighton transport hub. Make them light, use anti crash technology, people would get in and it would take them to their destination.

    This approach would remove a large amount of polluting buses and cars of the road, reducing fossil fuel use, lowering costs and putting our state into the 21st century, rather than the 19th as the incumbent ideologues demand we stay in.

    There is no reason why the system couldn’t expanded to cover the state, enabling people to travel cheaply and freely around Tas. Run it up alongside the midlands highway to Launceston and then to the Nth W. Branch out from each major population area and cover all Tas in the end. It would solve so many problems facing us in the future.

  2. brian p khan

    July 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Have contacted M.L.C for Elwick and given her the article in the financial review , how N.S.W Treasurer is funding transport off Budget whilst it is slightly more expensive it takes the pressure off state budgets .Wilkie should be promoting it.

  3. phill Parsons

    July 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Robin, anytime there is a clear deficiency in process i am happy to point it out. Investing in any option without an open consultation about the alternatives would be a wasted opportunity.

    For example would better bus stops like they have in Brazil give a better return.

    Buses pulling up, even kneeling buses, harks back to the centyry before last when they were horse drawn.

    Uncovered stops, especially downtown, tells us much about the attitude to the customer.

  4. Robin Halton

    July 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    #2 Phill Parsons, you raise many good points especially that no comparitive studies have been carried out!
    I suspect the cattle herd mentality, the Greens have continually shown up to be one eyed and the likes of Anna Reynolds are pushing Ben Johnson’s “baby” blind folded!
    So if there are other more flexible options within modern light rail developments then bring it on, we want to hear about it!

    We have seen the same recently with a complete lack of Green options for the ever so important Metro bus service.
    The (person) running the show has lost face with her employees over the ridiculous and moralle sapping drawn out bus drivers wages dispute. The State Government Minister Mr Mc Kim’s has shoved a $100,000 in her favor to allow a consultancy firm to do both a public relations stint as well as acting as a go between the CEO and to improve bus driver relations all round!
    Nowhere and I repeat nowhere during this out sourced, cost confidentially secret “mothering” exercise has the Green Minister for Buses Nick Mc Kim bothered to throw some cash to trial some smaller and fuel efficient “Green” buses which must exist on other parts of the vast globe.

    In any case NSLR probably does not have the critical numbers for passenger support.
    As Mr Wilkie points out it would be useless with the service Stage 1 being terminated at Glenorchy, Mona would be the “cream on the cake” to even consider justifying the project!

  5. phill Parsons

    July 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    My problem is the lack of a comparative study. Light rail is stuck to the rails where an o-bahn bus system has the capacity to leave its ‘rails and would suit both sides of the river.’Adelaide has experienced one for decades.

    Then we have had a failure to increase river ferries, a service that could serve both sides of the river as they do in Brisbane. They could even go down river. They do go to MONA now.

    Light rail seems more like a trophy than a transport system appropriate for Hobart.

  6. James Crotty

    July 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

    This is one project we should get excited about. The benefits of an integrated light rail service will be long-lasting and profound. This could be the beginning of something good. Get in touch with your local, state and federal pollies and get behind the proposal. Light rail works elsewhere, it will work here.

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