Page 1816 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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Other cities, in some places, are tearing up their roads and putting in different infrastructure. It is just the wrong time to be duplicating.

We have also got concerns about the Canberra south-west corridor upgrade, which is another $100 million in spending on the Tuggeranong Parkway. I think all of these projects need to go through a different filter than they were put through before.

I am pleased to hear about the $77 million pipeline of active travel work. That level of funding is really good and it is getting close to the level that the Greens think is the right level—around 20 per cent of our roads budget to be spent on active travel—if we are going to take active travel seriously. We have got questions about how some of that money is being spent and I have asked some questions on notice about that.

We have noticed that $16 million is identified in the Monaro Highway upgrade. We are struggling to see how that is going to give our active travel users $16 million worth of value from that highway. We are looking forward to making sure that we get more dedicated active travel projects, not simply a systemic dedication in the budget. The Monaro Highway upgrade is a huge project that the ACT will contribute $115 million to. The total project cost is $230.5 million.

I think about these huge sums of money and how they compare with how much we spend on active and public transport. Labor’s big active travel project in the last term was the $5 million Belconnen bikeway, and that is a great project, but imagine how many more people we would get out of cars and into sustainable modes of transport if we started looking at $230 million. The amounts do not match up. We could fix up our whole city’s path network and we could maintain it really well, without all the gaps and the cracks in the paths, without all of those problems that really turn people off.

There are some necessary road projects that we need in the ACT and I am pleased to see those coming along. The Molonglo River bridge is essential for the growing Molonglo Valley, and it is good to see projects like Gundaroo Drive which are already under construction. It is good to see those progressing. For a lot of our road duplications, we need to stop and think about those duplications and those widenings. We need to reconsider them, given the serious environmental, climate and economic cost that every single road project comes with. We need to think about them, knowing that they will not fix our congestion.

I want to make brief mention of the William Hovell Drive project. That got really good results. The minister did the consultation that was required, but the community found that that was not sufficient for a project of that size. We got involved, which added a lot of community members and stakeholders, and we chatted to the minister. The minister went back and re-consulted. That had a really good outcome. The community came back with very strong messages about where they wanted the active travel path and what they were using the existing space for. All of that information had not gone through, and that project has been redesigned. I think it is going to deliver good results for everybody who lives there, as well as people who are now going to be using the active travel corridor. It is a really good example of where more consultation has led to much better results, as well as better trust and a much happier

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