Jun 5, 2014

Lessons to learn from Singapore

At the World Cities Summit in Singapore this week I have had the opportunity to discuss the future of our expanding cities with leaders from all corners of the world.

Singapore provides a global model for urban policy particularly when it comes to public transport.

As the Member for Grayndler I have always advocated for our Federal Government to ensure our transport system is adequately resourced and was disappointed that Tony Abbott slashed billions of dollars in Commonwealth funding for urban rail in last month’s Budget.

People in the Inner West, in particular, rely on trains, buses and light rail to go about their daily business.

This is good for jobs, good for the environment and, importantly, eases congestion.

Yet despite these benefits the Abbott Government has walked away from public transport and has abolished the Major Cities Unit and the Urban Policy Forum.

In contrast Singapore planners have delivered a fully integrated transport system that utilizes buses, rail and light rail.

This city’s transport system is so effective that about 60 per cent of its residents use it each day during the morning peak period.

Compare that with Australia, where fewer people use public transport despite approximately 80 per cent of Australians living in cities.

I believe governments need to be serious about urban development to ensure that our cities are diverse and vibrant places, rich in human experience.

Critically, they need to embrace the notion of community.

Grayndler is blessed with a wide range of citizens with different cultural backgrounds.

This vibrant multiculturalism is what makes the Inner West such a great place to live and work.