Is there an opportunity?

Is there an opportunity?
Tony Penna

Firstly, I would like to start by thanking all those who reached out to me with their kind words of support for my 100th column last month. I never realised my monthly writings were often anxiously read by so many loyal Southbank News followers. 

I thank everyone in our community for your support for not only myself but our Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) committee and our tireless efforts with trying to hold government to account and achieve positive outcomes for Southbank.

I am pondering, is there an opportunity in the e-scooter space to show the world that Melbourne has found a way to make it work?

If there is any opportunity, then now is the time to act to exploit that while the government is reviewing the extension of the trial. Clearly, from the trial thus far there are lessons to be learnt and improvements to be made.

In response to this, SRA has been in extensive discussion with the City of Melbourne, in particular the Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece as the council will be a leading and significant voice with feedback to the state government. Notwithstanding, the council has the largest proliferation of e-scooters in Melbourne, if not Australia. In June, the Lord Mayor moved a motion at council’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting which was to produce a council position on a comprehensive list of areas for reform consideration, also taking into account surrounding municipalities. 

This motion was wholly supported by SRA and at that meeting we added our voice and recommendations for further considerations. It was admirable that the council also included advocacy for the disability cohort of our community which is so often overlooked.

The timing is ironic insofar that only very recently Melbourne e-scooter riders were labelled as the world’s most delinquent and judging from my personal experience and of many within our community, sadly it was of no surprise to me. 

Following this, you may have read my comments in the Herald Sun and subsequent interview with Elise Elliott on 3AW.

SRA has been advocating for an expansion of the insurance coverage by the operators. At present if there is an accident and the rider was using the vehicle illegally then there is no coverage. We all know, the reason an accident is likely to happen is purely because of the rider using the vehicle illegally. 

Also, we felt it critical footpath controls are mandated. This was a gross oversight from the beginning of the trial as this technology is available and incorporated into many other overseas jurisdictions – why was it overlooked here?

Yes, there is an opportunity here. E-scooters are an important part of the transport mix of any city and Melbourne is no different. There is an opportunity to get this right and be an example to the rest of the world that it is possible to get the right balance. Notwithstanding, this is not limited to commercial e-scooters, but must also cover privately-owned e-scooters which are now part of the extended trial.

SRA will be holding its AGM in the not-too-distant future which is an opportunity for any interested members of our community to join our committee. If you think you might have an interest, then I encourage you to reach out and learn more about what SRA is about and how you can contribute. 

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