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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 100..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

comprehensive analysis that indicates that we need to stage our development of light rail in Canberra. The first stage is to build the dedicated trunk corridors which can be used by existing public transport modes, such as buses, with the ability to convert them to light rail in the future. That is what the feasibility study says, and that is what we are doing.

It is interesting that the Greens, who are always critical of technological determinism, in this instance decide, "Use the technology and you get the outcome."There is no evidence to support that. There are cities around the world that have highly effective, responsive and flexible public transport systems based entirely on buses. There are cities around the world that also have highly effective transport systems based on light rail, heavy rail or a range of other public transport modes.

To suggest that one technology will deliver the result and another will not is simply flawed. It is a classic case of technological determinism. It is not an approach that stands up to any sort of rigorous analysis. Cities around the world have effective, responsive and flexible public transport systems based entirely on buses, and that is both in the developing world and in the developed world. There is no reason why it cannot work here in Canberra. It is not about the vehicle we use. It is about the service you provide. That is the issue that the government is seeking to address.

The work that we are doing in relation to public transport and busways around the city has been developed based on extensive consultation and analysis. A decision on the final preferred routes for the Belconnen to city service is currently under consideration and should be announced shortly. That route selection will consider the needs of commuters wanting fast access to major destinations and to the city. These destinations include the AIS, Canberra Stadium, MOREANU, CIT, Calvary hospital, the Childers Street precinct in City West, CSIRO Black Mountain, Radford College and the University of Canberra. These are all areas where we can achieve significant increases in public transport usage by providing dedicated right-of-way services throughout those precincts.

This is all, of course, about reducing door-to-door travel time. In a city designed for the car, the best thing we can do is make public transport as competitive with the car as possible. So reducing door-to-door travel times and reducing the cost to commuters are the two key issues.

Faster travel times will be achieved by the development of dedicated transit or busways because it is only buses that will use these services. They will have priority. There is the opportunity for consistent trip times. Each journey will always be the same. Services are not influenced by external factors such as traffic lights or build-up of other traffic. In comparison with bus services on local roads, there will be greater frequency of bus services and more express, non-stop services can be used on dedicated transitways. We will improve journey times to the Belconnen Town Centre with an almost straight journey from the western to the eastern side of the Belconnen Town Centre with no waiting at the interchange.

The government's proposal-I will be making announcements on this later this year-is that the Belconnen interchange will be demolished altogether and replaced by bus stations adjacent to major shopping and employment centres. A planning study for these improvements was initiated late last year and agreement in principle has already been given to the LDA for the concept design for an integrated transport and retail facility


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