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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 2139..

Suspension of standing and temporary orders

Motion (by Mr Wood ), by leave, agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Order of the day No 1, Executive business relating to the Gungahlin Drive Extension Authorisation Bill 2004 having precedence over all other business.

Gungahlin Drive Extension Authorisation Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 13 May 2004, on motion by Mr Wood:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (10.35): The Gungahlin Drive extension legislation is an important piece of legislation designed to facilitate the development of an important piece of public infrastructure for Canberra. Members would be aware that the legislation and the issues of the Gungahlin Drive extension have now been debated in this place for a very significant period of time-certainly for as long as I have been in the Assembly, since 1997. Consecutive governments have agreed to the construction of the road and have undertaken comprehensive and detailed examination of all the issues surrounding the provision of the road as well as provision of alternative transport measures.

Since the final decision was taken last year to proceed with development of the road on the eastern alignment-which is not, I stress, the preferred alignment of the ACT government-the government's efforts to construct the GDE have subsequently been frustrated by a series of legal challenges which have to be described only as measures designed to disrupt the project. It is now time for the disruption of the project to stop and for work on the project to be expedited. This will allow the people of Gungahlin to enjoy a similar level of access to that enjoyed by residents of other parts of the city. The project has been debated in the community over many years and has undergone extensive planning and environmental assessment. The design of the road has been modified to minimise its impact on the natural environment and on adjoining residential areas. Few other projects in the territory have undergone a similar level of scrutiny.

The Gungahlin Drive Extension Authorisation Bill will ensure that the project proceeds with the least possible disruption. The government acknowledges that the bill does impact on people's avenues to challenge the project and regrets that it has become necessary to take this step. However, we strongly believe that the importance of this project means that in this instance such moves are justified. This bill provides the greatest possible level of certainty for the people of Gungahlin and for the contractors currently restrained from completing the preliminary works for the project. Most importantly, it provides certainty for the tenderers for the major construction contracts to be called later this year that the construction work will not be unnecessarily disrupted.

While opponents of the Gungahlin Drive extension have consented to the lifting of Justice Crispin's injunction, they have made it clear that they will continue to seek to

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