Georges River is a Council committed to being future focused and ambitious. In the coming years, we will see pockets of the future emerge through strategic initiatives that support our region to be more accessible, green, diverse, and innovative.
In this series of Mayoral columns, I will be highlighting the steppingstones that guide our community and economy toward our 2050 Vision. I am ready, we are ready, to create a brighter future through strong leadership and accountability.
Theme: Accessible. "People and businesses connect locally, regionally, nationally and globally. From easy walking and cycling links, to the use of innovative transport technologies across the city, to new and upgraded links across Greater Sydney and to the Illawarra (2050: Leading for Change - Accessible).
On 10 January, we marked a significant stride towards our vision for a dynamic and connected community with the launch of metropolitan Sydney's first e-scooter trial at Kogarah. In its inaugural fortnight, the trial saw an impressive 1,105 e-scooter trips completed, amounting to more than 188 hours of riding. By creating active transport links between city hubs, we can change our experience from a daily commute into a time for enjoyment.
The e-scooter pilot program is underpinned by Georges River Council's willingness to actively explore improved urban mobility options through micro-transport and to lead the change towards a better-connected future for everyone. The popularity of e-scooters is attributed to their efficiency offering a transportation option that is approximately four times faster than walking.
As consumers increasingly seek convenient and eco-friendly alternatives, encouraging more individuals to use micro transport will create a flow on effect of economic activity in the region. A national study was released in 2022, reporting that 3.6 million e-scooter riders contributed to $728 million in direct and indirect spend in local businesses.
In Georges River, we recognise the need for increasing public transport. As a community we have a higher proportion of residents who use public transport for work - 31 per cent, compared to 23 per cent in Greater Sydney. With a projected population increase of 400,000 people in region over the next two decades, the importance of enhancing our public transport is a priority to relieve commuter stress and capitalise on new opportunities.
Georges River Council's geographical location positions us as the terminus of Greater Sydney. All connections from the Sydney CBD, Airport, to the Illawarra lead to us. Increasing our accessibility through transport enhances these networks and reaffirms our city as a vibrant centre for progress.
We are advocating for increased services and future transport links including the River Rail which connects Kogarah with Bankstown, Parramatta, and Epping. This rail link will connect Georges River to Western Sydney, stitching together many of Sydney's rail and metro lines as well as streamlining connections to northern Sydney and the Central Coast. This vital north-south connection has multiplying benefits for the city as a whole.
The River Rail is a transport priority for the leading policy think tank, the Committee for Sydney and supports our Leading for Change 2050 Strategy. Increasing our accessibility is a key factor in increasing opportunities for jobs, education, and entertainment and for the Georges River region to become the third strategic centre of Sydney.
Georges River Council is not just adapting to change; we are leading it. By exploring and advocating for transformative transport solutions that will leverage our strategic geographical position, Georges River is poised to lead the way towards a vibrant, sustainable, and connected future by 2050.
We will continue to advocate for future transport connections, shared vehicle use, better public transport infrastructure and services for local communities and businesses. Together, we can lead a shift within the community to explore the possibilities of transport for the future.
In 2050 the Georges River area will be an accessible, green, diverse and innovative place, community and economy. Georges River is Connected. Naturally.