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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 433

Mr McKenzie (Diamond Valley) - As has been outlined by the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar), the purpose of this Bill is to control access, parking and other matters concerned with the campus of the Australian National University. It gives the Council of the ANU power to make statutes to control traffic and parking. One of the most important factors in maintaining the campus as it is, free from too much motor vehicle traffic, is to make sure that access to the campus is properly controlled. Honourable members may be aware that recently University Avenue was blocked off near the Copland Building. Although this has meant that some vehicles have to go further around, anybody who has been to the site would agree that the University has benefited. This measure will give the ANU power to control parking. I am indebted to the honourable member for Warringah for citing the relevant figures. He mentioned a figure of 4,819 places. When the other categories of parking are added the total by 1980 would be well in excess of 5,000. The figure usually regarded as proper for a parking place is about $600. On that figure we arrive at a total cost of $3m which indicates how much money, apart from the cost of the land, is taken up in the provision of space for parking motor cars.

The Bill gives the University Council power to have vehicles towed away and discretionary powers in respect of fines. Anybody who has walked through the campus of the Australian National University has been impressed by the layout, by the large area provided for the needs of the University. I think we would all be concerned if the volume of traffic grew to such an extent that the beauty of the buildings and grounds was detracted from by too many motor cars occupying the open spaces. The idea of blocking off roads to deny access to vehicles is not new. It is rapidly gaining support in areas where municipal councils need to control the volume and access of traffic in the same way as the University Council needs to control its traffic.

The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr Innes) would be aware of the action taking place in part of his electorate. Side streets have been blocked off and traffic has to go around rather than through the area. In my electorate of Diamond Valley action has been taken by the Eltham Council and is proposed to be taken by the Diamond Valley Shire Council. We need to adapt our cities and living areas to the motor car. We will have motor cars in the immediate foreseeable future and we need to do something about controlling them. We cannot allow the motor car to take over. I have mentioned the town planning aspects of control of parking. This is particularly applicable in the Australian National University. As with Canberra, it could be a model for the rest of Australia.

Doubtless, if traffic is allowed to speed unimpeded through the campus injury and perhaps death well be caused to pedestrians. We ought to assist in keeping the campus a safe place. Honourable members will be aware of the tremendous cost of road accidents in Australia and of the pollution caused by motor cars. They will be aware of the tremendous cost of maintaining individual transport in the way in which we have it now. From figures made available to me I have estimated that the cost of road accidents is in the vicinity of $ 1,000m a year and the cost of maintaining motor vehicles is annually about $4,000m. I believe that we can use our money much better. What better place is there to emphasise these aspects than in the Australian National University?

There are alternatives. The honourable member for Warringah mentioned a free bus service within the campus. This sort of move is very important. Dial-a-bus services have been instituted in some cities. People ring up in sufficient time before they wish to travel and request transport. The route of the bus is programmed by a computer and the use of private motor cars is reduced. In San Francisco the Bay rapid transit system or Bart, has been developed. We could well use a similar system in Australian cities but I do not suggest that it should be developed in the grounds of the ANU. While I am mentioning matters associated with transport and the control of traffic I would like honourable members to give some thought to a final development in transport. I believe that individual transport is here to stay and it is not good enough for us simply to talk about public transport. The ANU has provided an alternative to students so that they do not need to bring their motor cars on to the campus. We as a community must act in the same way.

While public transport can be very much improved it is not a final answer to the problem. I look forward to the time when we will have a system of fully automated individual transport which will cost no more than the tremendous sums being poured annually into individual motor vehicle transport. 1 see no barrier from the point of view of technology or cost. One great advantage would be in the saving of lives and another would be in the preservation of our environment by use of a system to dial a vehicle and then to dial the destination.

Universities are places where ideas can grow. I hope that the powers provided in this measure when enacted will enable the University to be a laboratory for some of the town planning ideas associated with traffic. It is only a small contribution to what we need to do but I believe that it will be supported hi this House and at the University by the lecturers and other staff and the students. These people have shown a great interest in town planning matters and I am sure that this measure will have their support. I support the Bill.

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