QUESTION: World Car Free Day

Today in Question Time Mark asked the Treasurer, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, about World Car Free Day. 


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: Every year, on or around 22 September, cities across the globe celebrate World Car Free Day. This is a day where motorists are encouraged to give up their cars for a day, and the event highlights the numerous benefits of going car free to citizens, including reduced air pollution and the ability to enjoy streets that are otherwise congested and noisy in a way that is safer and more pleasant.

Around the world, a number of cities have taken action. In South Australia there appeared to be no acknowledgment or recognition from the State Government. In fact, the only group that appears to have stepped up was the Adelaide City Council, but in entirely the wrong direction by declaring a drivers' month, a move that was widely pilloried in the media as heading in entirely the wrong direction.

My question of the Minister is:

Having missed World Car Free Day this year, will the minister promote the day next year, which will be the 21st anniversary of World Car Free Day, and will he promote the day with appropriate events and announcements?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): I will be pleased to refer the question to my colleague. Sadly, I think we have seen the impact of World Car Free Day for many days over recent months because those of us who do use cars, as opposed to riding bikes—I am not sure the Hon. Mr Parnell is biking as often as he might have in the past—

The Hon. M.C. Parnell: More often.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: More often; is that right? Okay. I will look out for him and see whether I can run him over at some stage.

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: We have seen the benefits in terms of pollution and the ease of transport—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: —on our public roads—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: —with the significantly reduced volumes of traffic during particularly the months of March, April and May in South Australia. Whilst I am not personally someone who is committed to tokenism and symbols, and certainly I won't be giving up my car on whatever the particular day is next year, nevertheless, I am very pleased to refer it to my ministerial colleague to see whether or not the department, in particular, will be looking to celebrate or highlight the significance, as they might see it, of that particular day, whenever it occurs sometime next year.