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Liberals, Labor Vote Down Free Metro Bill

Vica Bayley MP

Vica Bayley MP  -  Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Tags: Metro Tasmania, Public Transport

Vica Bayley MP | Greens Transport spokesperson

The Greens are deeply disappointed in the Liberal and Labor parties' decision to join forces to vote down our Bill to provide free Metro bus transport for Tasmanians.

With the price of groceries, petrol, and housing continuing to grow, tens of thousands of Tasmanians are doing it tough. We put forward this Bill because we understand that making Metro free would have provided genuine cost of living relief to the community.

Not only that, free public transport would have a range of other positive benefits too, such as taking cars off the road and reducing both congestion and emissions, making buses more punctual, and reducing anti-social behaviour. When the Liberals made public transport free for five weeks last year, it was a raging success on all these fronts.

It’s hard to understand why the Liberals and Labor decided to vote against free Metro, given the relatively low cost of such a step. The government would only need to increase their investment in this crucial service by about $12 million to make it free for everyone – only a third of the amount they spend on subsidising the racing industry every year.

Minister Michael Ferguson argued against our Bill because he says it would be unfair to regional communities who don't have Metro services. This is disingenuous - the Minister knows we've been calling for free services for these communities too, and that the only thing standing in the way of this happening is him. 

This is a policy that’s been shown to have success in Europe and the USA, and that would help make Tasmanian society fairer, healthier, and more sustainable. The Greens have also shown it is affordable, and fully costed and funded statewide free bus transport through our Alternative Budget. Unfortunately though the state’s major political parties have shown no interest in this common-sense step.

While our Bill for free Metro has been defeated by the Liberals and Labor this time, the Greens won’t stop pushing for this important policy, and to deliver genuine cost of living relief for Tasmanians in need.