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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 374..


LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO MEMBER

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to:

That leave of absence be given to Mr Stefaniak for today, 28 February 1996.

BUS TRANSIT LANES

MR HIRD (10.52): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Urban Services to ensure that all Bus Transit Lanes be open for use under the same restrictions that apply to the Bus Transit Lanes on Athllon Drive.

Athllon Drive bus transit lanes are open for use by the general public in off-peak periods. It is an experiment that has worked very well. This experience has shown that the easing of restrictions in the bus-only lanes in Athllon Drive has eased the severe traffic problems in that area. Traffic moving between Tuggeranong suburbs and the Woden Town Centre, for instance, now flows smoothly, with the transit lanes open at the most important times of the day for the general public. It has also reduced the number of complaints that members of this place receive from motorists travelling between those two areas.

The introduction of transit lane use in other areas of the city would, I submit, have similar effects, that is, easing traffic flows and reducing the need for motorists to complain about congested roads. Another example of the benefit is that on occasions such as the one the Government faces right now, with the trade union blockade of Civic, the bus-only lanes could become transit lanes for use by the general public, thus avoiding the massive inconvenience that this type of action causes to the general resident of Canberra. This is a straightforward motion, Mr Speaker, and I commend it to the house.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (10.54): I thank Mr Hird for his motion. As members will recall, the experiment on opening up Athllon Drive is the one that members opposite said for four years could not be done. This Government consulted with the Transport Workers Union. We reacted to an enormous community desire to open up Athllon Drive in particular because, as Mr Hird said, it is one of the major links between the Tuggeranong Valley and the Woden Town Centre. It is also used by a lot of families who commute between those two centres, taking children to sporting functions and all that sort of thing. It was important that we should react in that way. It was also important that we did it by consulting with the Transport Workers Union and getting their imprimatur on it. It is working very well.


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