Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
17 Nov 2011
In the lead up to each state election, Sydneysiders are constantly told public transport will not only improve, but be fast, affordable and run on time.
However many promises, plans and projects often never get off the drawing board.
But the newly-formed Sydney Alliance is determined to change this.
Tonight representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney together with representatives from the other 44 member organisations that make up the Sydney Alliance will attend a public assembly at Penrith to address the issue of Sydney's transport system, and hopefully come up with solutions.
"Transport is a key issue and one that causes the most dissatisfaction among Sydney residents," says Amanda Tattersall, Director of the Alliance.
Among the 400 expected at the meeting will be seven NSW politicians including Stuart Ayres, member for Penrith and Deputy Government Whip; Ray Williams member for Hawkesbury and Parliamentary Secretary; Charles Casuscelli, member for Strathfield and Penny Sharpe, Shadow Minister for Transport.
"The focus of the meeting will be on improving public transport as a whole and coming up with a new vision and formulae for fixing the system without having to spend billions of dollars," Amanda says.
For almost a year, organisations within the Alliance have gathered intelligence about Sydney roads, rail and transport on the harbour and on the city's rivers. The Alliance has also canvassed business men and women as well as every day commuters as part of their "listening" campaign before developing possible as well as practical solutions.
The result is the Alliance's concept and basis of their charter on transport dubbed : "400:15:1:SCA2."
"This means public transport should be available within 400 metres of wherever someone lives, should run a minimum of every 15 minutes and that it should need just one all-purpose ticket that can be used for rail, buses and ferries," Amanda explains.
The SCA squared section of the concept insists that all public transport must be Safe, Clean, Accessible and Affordable.
"What the Alliance wants is a world-class public transport system for Sydney that is regular, reliable, clean, safe and easy to use regardless of someone's age, income, mobility or health," Amanda says and adds that it must also be properly planned, integrated and connected to where people live, work and enjoy their leisure.
This may seem like a pipe dream, the Sydney Alliance is convinced it can make a difference.
Four years in the making, and established to work for the common good to create a fair, just and sustainable city, and to give citizens a voice, the Sydney Alliance was officially launched at a Founding Assembly attended by 2000 at the Sydney Town Hall in September this year. Among those present were Dr Steven Lovell-Jones, Promoter of Peace and Justice for the Archdiocese of Sydney and Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Notre Dame; Bishop Terence Brady of the Sydney Archdiocese; the Bishop of Broome and Chairman of the Australian Social Justice Council, the Most Rev Christopher Saunders and more than 400 other representatives from Sydney's Catholic schools, universities, parishes, agencies and organisations.
Dr Lovell-Jones, who is on the Alliance Board and represents the Archbishop Cardinal George Pell on the Alliance Leaders' Council, says the broad range of member organisation groups involved in the Alliance is a way of not only giving citizens a voice but creating a body that is able to negotiate with the city's politicians and decision-makers on a wide range of issues, and make them accountable.
Among the issues the Alliance intends to tackle are aged care, mental illness and alcohol abuse along with homelessness, troubled youth, the quality of childcare and health care, unemployment, city infrastructure as well as addressing racism and ways to help Sydney's migrants and refugees settle into the community and begin new productive lives.
But it is public transport that is top of the agenda.
Tonight's meeting will discuss ways to improve the current system and bring it up to world standard.
But before the meeting even begins, the 400 attendees will have had a chance to experience Sydney's transport system up close. Each of them, including the seven politicians, has promised to take public transport to the Penrith venue. Some have already suggested if the system works as it normally does then that alone should trigger some lively debate!
To find out more about the Sydney Alliance log on to www.sydneyalliance.org.au