Page 3832 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022
The government’s vision to extend the light rail line to the south side to create a mass transit spine from Gungahlin to Woden is a significant one. It will mean that all Canberrans can travel to key destinations, including employment centres, north to south along the line in a single trip. The line will be integrated with rapid and route bus services. In the future, additional light rail lines are planned to other town centres and destinations.
The first critical stage of extending the mass transit line south is bringing light rail to Commonwealth Park. Construction on stage 2A of light rail has already begun, with works to raise London Circuit. This will provide a more people-friendly interchange for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The project will also improve connections between the city and the lake, with accessible footpaths, dedicated cycle lanes and a more vibrant and useable public space for all Canberrans to enjoy. The stage 2A extension will provide stops at key destinations in city west, city south and Commonwealth Park, running wire free.
There will be some disruption during this period of construction. We have been clear about that and up-front with the community. The building of major infrastructure projects is always disruptive, but, once complete, it will provide long-term benefits to the city. The ACT government has been undertaking extensive preparation and planning. We have put in place a range of measures to manage the impact of expected traffic congestion while construction takes place. We will also be asking Canberrans to rethink their routine during the construction period and to keep up to date on the latest information at builtforcbr.act.gov.au.
I will be seeking to amend Mr Parton’s motion today to note a range of things. The ACT government is committed to the delivery of light rail to Woden. That is very clear. My amendment notes that the government is progressing the delivery of light rail to Woden and that it has already achieved significant milestones, including releasing the stage 2A business case in August 2019. The Libs refuse to admit that this was the case. We have published the net present value figures associated with that business case as well. Again, they refuse to admit that. We submitted the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral in December 2019, which was then released for public exhibition in August 2020 and received approval in February 2021.
We obtained a federal government commitment to contribute a combined total of $218.4 million of funding for light rail stage 2A in February 2021 and October 2022. We progressed the delivery of the raising of London Circuit by signing an early works contract in June 2021, receiving works approval in March 2022 and signing the main works contract in July 2022, which we have released. We signed the contract in July 2022 for five new light rail vehicles, retrofitting batteries on the existing fleet, which includes the existing fleet that will be used for stage 2B, and expanding the light rail depot to enable wire-free operations on light rail stage 2. We commenced the construction of the raising of London Circuit in October this year.
The government will continue to progress the delivery of light rail to Woden. I can provide an update on some of those milestones. We will lodge a works approval and development application for light rail stage 2A in December this year, with the aim of