Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1818 ..
Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.45): I am more than happy to discuss issues around active transport, sustainable transport. I certainly acknowledge the interest of Ms Le Couteur and others in the issue and welcome the very positive contribution that members of this place make to a discussion about how to develop a truly sustainable transport system for the city. And it is not easy.
In the context of some of the aspects of the nature of the city, some of what we have inherited—essentially the historic nature, most particularly, of the Y plan which is in position and our inheritance of that from the commonwealth—means the capacity of successive governments to deal with some of the implications of that represents mighty challenges for an ACT government. It is a challenge that governments have tussled with and I think it is probably fair to say never achieved the outcomes or the results that any government would perhaps particularly like.
I do think, though, that it is unfair to the effort of governments, not just this but of all governments, for Ms Le Couteur, in the rather snippy presentation that she has just provided, to ignore the enormous issues that ACT governments face with our revenue base, with the size of our budgets, and the nature of the city. And that is reflected in an issue that is dear to Mr Coe’s heart—issues around dead running and the implications of dead running, the dispersed nature of the city and the development of appropriate bus networks that deal with some of the design features. These are issues that we have inherited.
We see it in the context of the issue with which Ms Le Couteur concluded her presentation now—issues around how do we genuinely and seriously convert the Northbourne Avenue channel, one might call it, or entrance to the city into an area that deals with the aspirations and hopes of bus travellers, cyclists and the users of cars. You cannot just wave a magic wand in relation to an issue like Northbourne Avenue. I have no doubt that every government since self-government has looked at some of these issues and thought, “If only we had the wherewithal, if only we had the cash, if only we could deal with the issues around a growing city and the need to expand the network of roads and communication opportunities, and the capacity at the same time to deal with some of those things at the end of the day.” As one struggles to meet the pressure of meeting the needs of an expanding and growing city, we would all love to do what successive governments over the last 20 years have found it very difficult to do.
I do think that Ms Le Couteur, on behalf of the Greens, does the Greens a disservice in not acknowledging the significant steps and efforts that successive ministers and governments have made in grappling with and seeking to deal with these issues around sustainable transport, sustainability, to deal with the aspirations of pedestrians and cyclists and people who wish to drive their car or who have no option but to drive their car, whilst moving towards a more sustainable transport arrangement for the city. I think at one level a positive contribution loses some of its impact or its force when there is a refusal to accept some of the realities that governments deal with.
In regard to the proposals in relation to Northbourne Avenue, if I can go to this, I am advised, anecdotally and informally by the department, that any of the options that