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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . .

Page.. 3031..

A draft variation to the territory plan—DV327—has been prepared to facilitate the light rail project. DV327 introduces definitions to the territory plan that relate to a light rail network as well as the infrastructure components associated with it.

The draft variation also proposes to rezone parcels of land on a number of blocks to accommodate the proposed light rail depot and light rail associated roadworks. The draft variation, along with the planning report, is on public consultation at the moment. The consultation period will close on 15 October this year.

The Planning and Land Authority is also preparing a scoping document for an environmental impact statement for capital metro stage 1. The scoping document is being prepared at the request of the Capital Metro Agency. A scoping document guides the preparation of an EIS and includes specific matters which are required to be addressed.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how do these two approvals processes assist in ensuring that planning for light rail for our city remains on track?

MR GENTLEMAN: The draft variation process is aimed to establish a clear path for the light rail proposal to be lodged and assessed against the territory plan. As this is the first light rail project there is need to introduce light rail to the territory plan to clarify that this is one kind of public transport facility and is permitted in the zones, allowing for public transport facility development.

While the process does not improve the specific details of the light rail proposal it, importantly, puts in place the planning requirements and zoning to accommodate the light rail associated infrastructure. One example of the changes being made to the territory plan includes adding light rail and its definition as a subcategory in the definition of public transport facility and amending the definition of road to include light rail and tracks and ensuring municipal depots are redefined to also include vehicles and light rail vehicles.

The commencement of the environmental impact statement is also important to ensure the progress of the capital metro project. The EIS is a document prepared to detail the expected environmental impacts of a development. The document also responds to any potential adverse impacts of the development on the environment and states "any commitments made to avoid, mitigate or satisfactorily control and manage these impacts".

Once the EIS scoping document is finalised and given to the proponent, which is expected to be in mid October, the proponent is then required to prepare the draft EIS. The EIS process allows for the identification and consideration of the potential impacts of the proposal before major commitments or decisions are made. By considering the potential impacts of the proposal earlier, it will prevent any issues during the assessment stage later.

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