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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1255 ..

MS FITZHARRIS: I am pleased to advise that the next project milestones for light rail stage 1 include significant progress continuing on the stringing of overhead wires, with a focus on the northern section of the line to start with. Soon Canberrans will also start to see the vehicles out on the lines undergoing rigorous testing, and energisation of those lines will start soon.

Testing of the vehicles and electronic systems will provide Canberra Metro and the government with confidence that our light rail system will be safe and reliable. The ongoing recruitment and employment of light rail drivers will ensure that we have highly trained drivers ready to assist with the testing of the vehicles, and eventually carrying passengers between Gungahlin and Civic.

The first stop at Nullarbor Avenue is expected to be completely finished, including landscaping, in the third quarter of 2018. There are currently three other stops underway. Work at the Mitchell depot, which will house the light rail vehicles and the network control centre, is also advancing. The administrative and maintenance buildings are at the internal fit-out stage, and the track slab and rail within the stabling yard is now complete. I will look forward to announcing the completion of the depot very shortly.

MS ORR: Minister, what steps are being taken to minimise the impact of construction on the community?

MS FITZHARRIS: Locally, care is being taken to minimise the impacts of construction on local residents through scheduling out of hours works and taking steps to minimise construction and machinery noise. Both Transport Canberra and City Services and Canberra Metro have worked closely with businesses along the corridor to provide ongoing information and advice regarding construction impacts and minimise the impact of the construction.

The ACT government also provides assistance to businesses along the light rail corridor by funding the Canberra Business Chamber for the light rail business link program to mitigate any impact to businesses through ongoing communications, industry collaboration and business support programs. A great example of this work is the consultation with businesses on Hibberson Street that resulted in intensified works on the terminus. With agreement, hours of work were extended and resources were redirected to ensure that Hibberson Street will be progressed as quickly as possible.

I am very conscious that the combination of works occurring in the town centre at the moment is intense. We have most certainly reached peak investment activity in the town centre, from construction of the new bus station and light rail terminus to the regeneration works on Hibberson Street between Gozzard Street and Gungahlin Place. Roadworks in the area are soon to begin on the Ernest Cavenagh extension as well as the installation of a number of traffic lights around the town centre, which will significantly improve pedestrian, cyclist and road flow around the town centre.

We are doing everything we can to keep people informed and get the work finalised quickly and safely. I thank everyone for their continued patience as we move closer to the finalisation of the project and the commencement of light rail services.

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