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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1823 ..

network, an appropriate signposting network and conducting a maintenance blitz to make sure that our off-road cycle path network is actually given the attention it deserves so that it can be fully maximised and fully utilised by Canberrans who do ride their bikes.

But when it comes to the installation of cycle lanes, whether they be on road or off road, it is by far and away preferable that the work is done at spec stage for a road. To retrofit a road with an on-road cycle lane is potentially very hazardous and extremely expensive. I think we have seen that on Northbourne Avenue in terms of some of the many problems that exist on Northbourne Avenue. As I have said in this chamber before, I particularly point out the problem with the on-road cycle lane on Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit. I have said that before and I really do fear that an accident will occur there because of the very dangerous conditions that cyclists face when they use that on-road cycle path in amongst the three lanes of traffic and the bus interchange stops that are there as well.

As I said, the Canberra Liberals do support cycling and we do support making our public transport system more efficient and better for everyone but we do need to make sure that we have a very reasonable and very measured approach to this; otherwise we run the risk of not being economically sustainable at the expense of some very short-term methods that may well make us feel good but will not actually result in a lasting, positive legacy. As I said, we will be supporting Mr Stanhope’s amendments which make the motion better but we will not be supporting the motion on the whole.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6.07): I am proud to be standing in support of this important motion, discussing the future directions of transport here in Canberra. As a capital and as a city, Canberra has very much been lauded as a leading light of planning and urban design, and Canberra once again can become a leader when it comes to public transport. Leadership means using the power granted to us by the people of Canberra to stand up and talk about the hard decisions we are required to take for the future of our community.

It is lamentable that governments often struggle to focus beyond the next re-election. The challenges that face us—not only environmental, but social, demographic and economic—are all challenges where our actions now determine the quality of life for those that follow us. Investments that are deemed optional, that are put in the too-hard basket, are often the investments that are not optional for the next generation and must be paid for at much greater cost.

We recognise that improvements to transport infrastructure capacity do come at a cost now. However, the cost of building these improvements now, of laying the groundwork, ensures that our community is not burdened with a greater cost later. We must build to a high standard of economic and environmental sustainability now, instead of retrofitting our roads and suburbs with the required infrastructure after the fact.

The government have said much in the last 24 hours of their commitment to transport in the ACT. We acknowledge the benefits of these measures, although some measures provide only marginal benefits compared to improvements to the capacity of the fleet.

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