Federal Election May 2022 – Candidates policies on public transport

On 18 April 2022 PTCBR Chair Ryan Hemsley sent the following questions to all registered candidates (if we had their contact details) for the May 2022 Federal election, seeking their views on public transport and funding for light rail.

  1. Are you a regular user of public transport in the ACT? 
  2. Do you support the extension of the ACT’s light rail network to Canberra’s other town centres?
  3. If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding for light rail construction in the ACT?
  4. If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding to support the transition of the ACT’s bus fleet to consist of zero-emissions (electric, hydrogen or other zero-emission technology) vehicles?
  5. Do you have any other views on public transport that you would like to tell our members?

Unlike the Federal election in 2019, this election does not feature light rail as a policy by any of the major parties. In 2019 the ALP promised $200 million towards light rail Stage Two if it was elected. That policy has not been revisited at this election.

In this article from May 13 some clarification has been provided:

Meanwhile, the ACT government said it would ask a federal Labor government for more funding for light rail, after the party walked back its 2019 pledge to chip in $200 million if it had been elected.

“If a Labor government is elected, the ACT government will work collaboratively with the Commonwealth on the delivery of light rail, and we will look forward to conversations about additional financial support for the project in the future,” an ACT government spokesman said.

The ACT’s Labor senator, Katy Gallagher, said a Labor government could continue discussions with the ACT once it was clear what a $132.5 million light rail commitment made under the Coalition would cover.

As an apolitical organisation, the PTCBR do not encourage you to vote one way or another. We are providing the information here for you to form your own opinion.

ACT Senate candidates list here.

ACT House of Representatives candidates list here.

Responses received

Fuxin Li – Independent

  1. Are you a regular user of public transport in the ACT?  Yes
  2. Do you support the extension of the ACT’s light rail network to Canberra’s other town centres? Yes
  3. If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding for light rail construction in the ACT? Yes
  4. If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding to support the transition of the ACT’s bus fleet to consist of zero-emissions (electric, hydrogen or other zero-emission technology) vehicles? Yes
  5. Do you have any other views on public transport that you would like to tell our members? If I am elected I will chase more commonwealth funds for ACT transport infrastructure.

Tim Hollo – Greens

  1. Are you a regular user of public transport in the ACT?
  • I personally am not a regular public transport user, as I am lucky to live centrally enough that I can ride my pushbike pretty much everywhere I go. I do occasionally use the light rail and buses. My children use public transport a lot.
  • Do you support the extension of the ACT’s light rail network to Canberra’s other town centres?
  • I absolutely support the extension of the light rail. I can’t wait to see Canberra as a mature city with light rail connecting town centres along arterial routes, and bus routes and active travel paths connecting to the arterial routes.
  • If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding for light rail construction in the ACT?
  • I would absolutely work my hardest to ensure Commonwealth funding for light rail construction. This is important infrastructure that the Federal Government should contribute to.
  • If elected, would you lobby for Commonwealth funding to support the transition of the ACT’s bus fleet to consist of zero-emissions (electric, hydrogen or other zero-emission technology) vehicles?
  • Yes, I would certainly seek Commonwealth funding to help transition the ACT”s bus fleet to zero emissions vehicles.
  • Do you have any other views on public transport that you would like to tell our members?
  • A city of Canberra’s size and shape needs a comprehensive, multi-modal public transport system, with light rail, buses, and small on-demand shuttles, all connecting with a well-developed active travel network of paths. This is going to take some years to build, and will take a major investment from both tiers of government. But it will be worth it. It will make life better, it will make our society fairer by making the city more accessible, and it will both help us tackle the climate crisis and manage life as the crisis begins to bite. As a local member, I will prioritise this important development for our city.

Dr Kim Rubenstein – Independent

Failed to respond to email, but posted the following answers on Reddit here.

  1. Do you use public transport?
  2. Are you a supporter of light rail in Canberra?
  3. Would you vote for and lobby for Commonwealth funding for extensions to the existing light rail?

I am a big supporter of public transport, not only is it better for the environment but a good public transport system helps to make a place more accessible for every member of the community.

Growing up and as a young professional in Melbourne, I frequented the public transport network almost every day.

Unfortunately, the route between my house on the Southside and my workplace at the University of Canberra is not well serviced by public transport – but this only invigorates me more to ensure that all Canberrans have accessible, efficient and affordable public transport options!

Katy Gallagher – ALP

Failed to respond to email, but posted the following answers on Reddit here.

  1. Do you use public transport?
  2. Are you a supporter of light rail in Canberra?
  3. Would you vote for and lobby for Commonwealth funding for extensions to the existing light rail?
  1. Yes and so do all my children
  2. Yes
  3. Where it stacks up the Commonwealth and ACT Governments should work together on this project

More to come as responses are received!