Talks on the future of transport in the Greater Launceston area are ramping up, with an expert panel convening to discuss a much-vaunted strategy from the state government and local councils.
The Greater Launceston Transport Vision was released for public consultation last month.
Yesterday, a panel of experts including RACT chief executive Mark Mugnaioni, University of Tasmania academic Jason Byrne and 3P Advisory director Kym Goodes, met to hash out the details of the vision and hear feedback on it from RACT members.
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“There’s been some great discussions,” Mr Mugnaioni said of the panel.
“It’s all too easy to get stuck in the weeds with these issues. What we really need is thought leadership over the next 10-30 years, not just the next five years.”
“A whole range of issues were discussed this morning but really the most critical thing for us is it’s less about individual streets, it’s less about individual linkages, it’s more about having a really solid vision for the long-term to help inform all of the small decisions.”
The aim of the vision is to help facilitate the efficient use of road and land in the region through means such as reducing the need to travel and the length of journeys, improving the flow of freight and providing a choice between different modes of travel.
Professor Byrne, an expert in human geography and planning, said car dependency in Launceston was at an alarming 89-90 per cent.
“If we can target the car and improve transport options for people, we’ll achieve some outcomes that will benefit health and benefit climate,” he said.
“I feel very optimistic about this plan. I think Tasmania can become a model for the rest of the world.”
Ms Goodes said broader consultation may be required to ensure that all demographics were given an equal voice in developing the strategy, including older and younger Tasmanians and the unemployed.
“A lot of job opportunities for younger people may not be in the city centre,” she said. “So how do we make sure we’ve got responsive transport solutions for young people who might want to access work, for example, in the Tamar Valley in a vineyard?”
“[We need to] make sure that everyone who lives in Launceston can really live a good life.”
The Greater Launceston Transport Vision is the result of a joint partnership between the Tasmanian government, the City of Launceston council, Meander Valley Council, West Tamar Council, Northern Midlands Council, George Town Council and Dorset Council.
The public consultation period closes on September 4.
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