Page 4064 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 December 2021

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I know firsthand how difficult it has been for thousands of volunteers who already do so many things behind the scenes to step up and ensure that their sport continues to be COVID safe. The countless regular catch-ups amongst the sector kept everyone connected and informed on the next steps following the lockdown.

It has been evident during this last year how important sport is to our community, not only for physical activity but also for mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. During lockdown not being able to pull on your club colours and train and play with friends, to referee or volunteer or just lend your support from the sidelines has been really tough, and it has been for many isolating as well.

Sport is the lifeblood of our community, and so I am glad we have been able to see many of these activities progressively recommence and thrive. While many of our winter seasons were cut short, it is great to see that many sports have bounced back stronger than before. I am looking forward to tonight’s awards to celebrate all the sporting achievements through the year and all of the wonderful people who have contributed to these outstanding outcomes.

Light rail stage 1—environmental impact

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Two years ago, Minister, on 29 November 2019, my good friend and former Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur asked you several questions on notice about light rail stage 1. She asked whether the government had done or commissioned any studies about greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impacts of the project as well as a comparison of tram emissions to bus emissions. The response to all three questions was a one-word answer, “No.” Minister, why didn’t your government do or commission any studies about the environmental impacts and emissions of light rail stage 1 in comparison to some other alternatives?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. We have, of course, through that project, undertaken an assessment under the ISCA rating and received a leading rating in relation to the sustainability of that project. That has since been reported on in the benefits realisation plan for the stage 1 project. We have seen the other benefits of the project as well, in attracting people onto public transport who would not otherwise have used a bus. The benefit of light rail is that it attracts people to use public transport, and that is the goal of the government in wanting also to expand the service down to Woden, as part of stage 2.

We know from surveys that we have done that around 30 per cent of people who use light rail stage 1 never used a bus previously. So it has a pull effect that buses have never delivered in Canberra. Of course, buses will continue to be part of an integrated public transport service that includes both light rail, providing a mass transit spine from the north to the south of Canberra, and buses, providing those route services, those coverage services in the suburbs that also link with our rapid buses and our mass transit network in light rail. They all have a role to play.

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