Page 3841 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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dependent. So unless your vision for our future is endless roads choked with cars, it is time to get on board for a better future. That is one that has an easy to use, affordable, accessible transport network, not just light rail but also buses, and a well-maintained active travel network of footpaths and cyclepaths. We want to allow cars to be a choice, not a necessity.

I am a big fan of transparency. We all like to be able to see and understand the evidence base for why we make the decisions we do. But one does not simply publish one’s negotiating position while the contracts are still being negotiated. The question here is: light rail 2B or not to be? We have been asking this question for what feels like a very long time. I am trying to mess with your self-expression, but stressing and obsessing about somebody else is no fun. So let us unite north and south Canberra and do that literally with light rail 2B.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.55): I rise to speak briefly in support of Minister Steel’s amendment to Mr Parton’s motion. It seems that this week the Canberra Liberals are feeling a bit nostalgic for 2016. Mr Hanson has his eye on the leader’s job and the Canberra Liberals are once again arguing against light rail.

Light rail works in Canberra, and it works around the world. In 2016, as planning minister, I took an industry delegation to North American cities with light rail networks. The purpose of this visit was to understand the impacts of light rail on planning and the built outcome and how we could ensure that Canberra built on these learnings. The cities which we visited were facing similar environmental and planning challenges to Canberra, including becoming a more active and less car-dependent society and creating more affordable, sustainable places for people to live.

In Tucson the delegation visited and saw firsthand how light rail can transform a city and how it complements existing programs to promote safe cycling, walking and other forms of active travel. In Portland the delegation saw a range of collaborative community, government and business projects focused on establishing different options for affordable community housing, while creating more liveable environments. This confirmed that light rail corridors have a transformative effect on business growth. The delegation was provided with an opportunity in Seattle to tour the renowned eco-district, a neighbourhood-based sustainable housing project that offers a wide range of affordable housing options for residents with diverse needs. At the final stop in Vancouver attendees had the privilege of visiting the UniverCity precinct, which is a fine example of the immense potential of combining university, city and transport renewal ambitions in one coordinated program of development.

What we saw was quite extraordinary. These cities were vibrant, connected and happy. Public spaces were improved when light rail came in, as was the public transport system more generally. People also changed their behaviour because light rail suited them. In Vancouver, for example, we saw that, among young people, those 21 years and younger, those choosing to get their driver licence were now in the minority. That is quite amazing. Those people 21 and younger were choosing not to even get a driver licence. They instead preferred to use public transport and were able to see fewer cars

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