Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health


Media Release

Sunday 3 August 2006

Millionaires’ Transport Talkfest
Active Transport Groups Excluded

PCA Calls on Malcolm Turnbull to Campaign for Immediate Motor Vehicle FBT and Tariff Reform


The Chairman of the PCA, Harold Scruby, criticised today’s “Lloyd’s List – Sydney Transport Summit” for being elitist, ignoring ‘active transport’ and excluding the major pedestrian and cycling groups.


Mr Scruby said: “At $2,524.50 for 2 days, this was clearly designed for millionaires, oil companies, car companies, ministers and senior bureaucrats.  This was not designed to hear the voices of those campaigning for ‘active transport’ solutions to our nation’s traffic and transport woes.


“The mammoth ‘Warren Centre’s Sustainable Transport in Sustainable Cities Project of 2002’ concluded that:  ‘More effective policies and actions are needed to promote active transport and reduce car use’  Yet the words walking and cycling hardly appear on the agenda.


Mr Scruby added: “While traffic and transport problems will require major infrastructure programs, enormous expenditure and considerable time to fix, the Federal Government could initiate 2 significant changes with the stroke of a pen.


“While the FBT and Tariff regimes were inherited from the previous Labor Government, the current FBT on cars now sees every middle-manager rewarded with a vehicle in lieu of a salary increase.  This tax is structured so that the further the owner drives the car, the lower the tax, thus increasing petrol consumption, greenhouse gases, traffic congestion and the potential for road trauma. This tax must be reversed immediately to reduce car-dependency and encourage the use of Public Transport.  And the FBT on CBD car-parking should be reviewed commensurately, to significantly tax motorists who drive into and park in cities.


“Additionally, the current Tariff on motor-vehicles allows 4WDs such as a 12 cylinder, gas-guzzling VW Touareg to come into Australia at a 5% tariff and a 4 cylinder Toyota Corolla at 10%.  This is utterly absurd and will not even reach parity until 2010.  The tariff must be amended immediately to allow hybrids into the country at 0% tariff and an upward sliding scale to heavily tax those passenger vehicles which use the most fuel.


“We call on the keynote speaker, Mr Turnbull, who is now the Federal Government’s roving ambassador and expert on Transport, Tax and Water, to release a statement agreeing with these recommendations and to campaign vigorously to ensure these changes are implemented without delay.


“We suggest that these ubiquitous and ever increasing Transport Talkfests be affordable to all stakeholders, inclusive not exclusive, that ‘active transport’ keynote speakers be included and that there be stated objectives and expected results within given time-frames, along with formal communiqués and evaluations.  Otherwise, they are simply a waste of time.”  Mr Scruby said.



Contact:  Harold Scruby - Tel:  (0418) 110-011 or (02) 9968-4555




Healthy Transport, Healthy People

June 2002


Executive Summary


Current transport practices result in trauma, pollution and physical inactivity. These can lead to early death.

Active transport improves community health
Healthy Transport, Healthy People shows that a sustainable city needs sustainable transport that encourages health-supporting, not health-damaging, travel behaviour.

Health, safety and transport are daily concerns for everyone, but few of us realise how closely they are connected. In the 1990s the World Health Organisation identified transport as one of the major determinants of health and health inequality in Western countries.

Our car culture damages our health

Increased car use has displaced active transport-walking, cycling and using public transport. Current transport planning and infrastructure foster habitual car use. Consequently, almost half the population is exposed to substantial health risk from physical inactivity.

Physical activity reduces the risk of fatal disease

Our travel habits help determine our health. Forty per cent of urban NSW residents are not physically active at levels recommended for good health; 41 per cent are overweight or obese.

Physical activity almost halves the risk of cardiovascular disease and also reduces the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer as well as alleviating anxiety and depression.

The most effective, and enduring way of increasing our physical activity is by using `active transport' rather than driving.

Road trauma increases as we age

Australia's rate of road trauma is typical of western, car-dependent societies. However, current travel trends are not sustainable, and, if they continue, will place the elderly at increased risk of road trauma. Public and active transport infrastructure is required as a safer, healthier alternative for the over 60s of the future who are predicted to have a 143 per cent higher rate of crash involvement.

Urban pollution damages health

All the urban air pollutants that have an impact on health arise from combustion of fossil and petrochemical fuels, predominantly used by motor vehicles.


More than a third of the greenhouse gas emissions from a typical Australian household are from transport - the opportunities exist for most people to reduce their motor vehicle-related use.


Promote sustainable and healthy transport

The community needs to be convinced of the personal health benefits of incorporating active transport into their lifestyles. The health and transport sectors need to work together to develop complementary strategies to promote sustainable and healthy transport. Businesses whose activities and profitability are determined by the health of their workers will benefit through active involvement in sustainable transport initiatives.


The policies and goals for urban and transport development should reflect the policies and goals of both sustainable environmental planning and the maintenance of healthy communities.

Adopt active transport and live better and longer
More effective policies and actions are needed to promote `active transport' and reduce car use:


  • Fund infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists based on both current use and desired use;
  • Reform subsidies for car use and parking;
  • Develop more walkways, pedestrian refuges, cycleways and car-free zones;
  • Promote ‘active transport' at workplaces, schools and community centres;
  • Invest in the public transport system.


Fund the running and evaluation of demonstration programs to:

  • encourage the use of active transport;
  • improve road management for area-wide safety, incorporating the needs of pedestrians and cyclists;
  • enable practitioners to undertake audits for cycling and walking routes.


  • The medical profession can prescribe walking and cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle or as treatment in cardiac programs;
  • Information on public transport routes and timetables can be displayed in patient waiting rooms;
  • School curriculums can link transport with lifestyle and health subjects;
  • ‘Walk to school' can be part of school environmental management programs.

The road is there to share

To achieve behavioural change road authorities need to develop an awareness among the media, trip generators, and the community of the problems of single-occupancy car use for the transport system and encourage improved road user behaviour that respects all road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians and supports bus-priority.


Engineering Building J13, Sydney University NSW 2006
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