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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . .

Page.. 3587..

In this first year of our second century, we know that we are a city of a billion possibilities and this government is committed to turning these possibilities into real opportunities. We have an ambitious vision for the future that seeks to make Canberra a truly sustainable and creative city, a city that is inclusive, that supports the vulnerable and that enables every person to reach their potential—a city that fosters economic growth, jobs and innovations. Our vision was set out in the Canberra plan in 2008 and it was taken to the 2012 election, and we are well in the process of delivering. Fundamental to our approach is the best interests and quality for our people.

Our second century will be different. It will be about the best interests of Canberrans, both now and in the future. Our vision means planning and preparing for the challenges that lie ahead, including an increasing and ageing population, increased demand on resources and, of course, climate change.

While many others in this country falter with indecision and delay on how to tackle these changes, we have accepted the science on climate change and have set an ambitious strategy to reduce our emissions and become carbon neutral by 2060. We are not waiting for international or national action. We believe that cities can take a lead and are demonstrating through action what can be achieved.

Transport is an integral part of our response to climate change. In the territory, carbon emissions from transport are over 20 per cent, well above the national average of 14 per cent. We look at examples across the world and understand that we must respond to the issues of congestion and pollution that are stifling cities. By 2020, congestion will cost the territory $200 million per year, an increase of 85 per cent in the last 15 years.

By 2031, the peak hour commute from Gungahlin to the city is estimated to take over 50 minutes if capital metro is not built. Congestion was costing Australia $10 billion a year in 2005, with projections estimating that this will double by 2020 and increase exponentially, and no city, however well planned, is immune.

In the last decade the territory has invested over $1.2 billion on road infrastructure with very little public debate. We know cities that focus predominantly on road infrastructure are generally more dependent on cars, with resulting economic and environmental issues. Unsurprisingly, this significant road infrastructure investment has resulted in Canberra having one of the highest car dependency rates in the country, if not in the world.

We know we cannot continue to just build more and more roads. This will lead to further road congestion. Cities that prioritise public transport have strong economic performance with sustainable transport and urban development. The lesson to learn from these experiences is that good public transport infrastructure is essential for the sustainable growth of any city. It is no coincidence that eight out of 10 cities listed on the 2012 Economic Intelligence Unit's global livability index have light rail.

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