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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 27 November 2014) . . Page.. 4204 ..

MR COE: Minister, why is business as usual on Northbourne Avenue not acceptable but business as usual on Hindmarsh Drive, Athllon Drive, Belconnen Way, Gundaroo Drive, the Tuggeranong Parkway and other roads acceptable?

MR CORBELL: It is a straw man and it is not the argument the government is presenting. The facts are that along this corridor we have the most significant level of population growth of any part of the city. We have to plan for that, we have to respond to that and we have to make sure we are ahead of the curve so that people do not face unrealistic travel times and the loss in productivity that will otherwise occur.

The government continues its strategic transport planning across the city. It looks closely at all corridors and it looks at how we respond to those. But it is very important that, on this corridor, given the very significant level of population increase that is going to occur and that all the demographics are telling us is going to occur, we plan for and respond to that.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, why did the government proceed with light rail despite a report conclusively showing that investment in buses produced greater benefits?

MR CORBELL: Again, I draw Mr Wall’s attention to previous answers I have given in this place on this question, in particular to the unsuitability of bus rapid transit along the Northbourne Avenue corridor. We all understand the reasons why. I know the Liberals try to duck and weave on this issue. But we have at least had Mr Coe come out and say that he does not believe that a bus way should be built down the median strip of Northbourne Avenue.

So that leaves us with the obvious conclusion that the only alternative that they are prepared to endorse is to use one of the existing traffic lanes north bound and south bound on Northbourne Avenue for buses. That makes congestion worse on Northbourne Avenue. If their public transport policy is to make congestion worse along the corridor then we look forward to them going out and explaining to the people of Canberra why it is that congestion should get worse as a result of an investment in public transport along that corridor.

This government’s policy is investment in public transport that is an improvement for all transport users, including people who will continue to commute by private motor vehicle, and that will continue to be a significant number of people. That is the marked difference between the two parties. That is why the government has chosen light rail as the best mode along this corridor, amongst a range of other reasons.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, could you tell us more about the benefits of light rail along the Northbourne Avenue corridor?

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