Page 3613 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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MR COCKS: Minister, will you guarantee that the bridge that you have promised at election after election will be completed before you start stage 2B of the tram and make the problems even worse?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. As I have said before, we still expect that the construction of the bridge over the Molonglo and the extension of John Gorton Drive will be completed around the end of 2025. We will continue to update the community. We are just going through the final stages of procurement for the new bridge, and we are looking forward to work on the project getting underway as early as next year. So construction will be very visible there, as it will be on the Monaro Highway next year and as it will be around the corner here, in the city, on raising London Circuit.

There will be significant infrastructure projects happening right around the city. Work continues on the hospital. It is rising out of the ground in Garran. There is going to be infrastructure that our government is building for Canberra’s future.

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, the question relates to Molonglo and Coppins Crossing. The minister is going on about other projects. How is the hospital development relevant to congestion for the people of the Molonglo? How is it relevant?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, resume your seat. The question was around congestion and timing of infrastructure. The minister is free to answer as he sees fit as long as he is in scope, and he was in scope. Minister, you have a few seconds left.

MR STEEL: I am right.

MR HANSON: Minister, on what dates will you commence and complete stage 2B of the tram?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. I will just correct him: it is a light rail system. It largely runs in its own corridor. It has priority. It does not run necessarily with the traffic. So it is quite different to what I think the Canberra Liberals envisage light rail to be.

We are currently going through the planning work and the early design work that is necessary to go through the approval processes for stage 2B. Attention at the moment is focused on delivering stage 2A. We will be putting in an NCA works approval by the end of the year for that project, with procurement being finalised, we expect, next year. We will be able to provide definitive time lines on the 2A project at that point. I am looking forward to announcing that.

We will then be able, with our technical design partners, to turn our focus to working on the 2B project. It is a much more complex project—the largest in our city’s history. That is the reason that stage 2 was split into two parts—2A and 2B. Stage 2B has always been acknowledged as requiring a significant amount of work because of the sensitive heritage issues and environmental issues in the Parliamentary Triangle. We will continue to work on those, before we then consider a business case and undertake procurement on the project to establish the time lines the community is after.

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