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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 395 ..

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her supplementary question. The stage 2A project will deliver extensive benefits for our city, as the first part of an extension of the light rail line from the city to Woden, and as an extension of stage 1 of light rail as well. The line extension will add 1.7 kilometres of track, with three stops added to the light rail network.

Early estimations suggest that patronage of light rail stage 2A will bring an additional 2,500 to 3,000 passengers per day within the first operating year. The Edinburgh Avenue stop is expected to immediately be one of the most popular stops in the system, providing access to the Australian National University, the courts precinct, and commercial areas on London Circuit and in New Acton.

Stage 2A will bring significant employment opportunities to the territory. Light rail stage 2A and raising London Circuit are together expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs in the construction sector, and many more indirect jobs in other sectors of the ACT economy. This follows the outstanding ACT employment figures from earlier in the week, which are the best in the nation.

Delivering stage 2A is a key part of achieving the ACT’s transport strategy, which will help to build a safer, less congested and more sustainable city. This project will build on the success of light rail stage 1.

Aside from being delivered ahead of time and under budget, we have seen sustained popularity through the patronage figures on that project. Canberrans love light rail. I am pleased to announce that new survey results show that 43 per cent of people using light rail never used public transport in the ACT before, showing the power of light rail mass transit in shifting people onto public transport. By extending the line, we want to extend these benefits to other parts of the city and grow public transport patronage further.

MS ORR: Minister, what are the next steps for the stage 2A project?

MR STEEL: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary and her interest in light rail and the benefits that it has been providing to the Gungahlin region. This is an important project for our city, but from an approvals point of view light rail stage 2 is one of the most complex in the nation’s history. As I have previously outlined, stage 2A has been assessed and approved by the commonwealth through the preliminary documentation referral pathway under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The next steps are to obtain the required planning approvals, including territory development approval and National Capital Authority works approval, and then commence the procurement and construction of the project. Design and procurement planning activities are continuing, with the focus being given to some more complex areas of the alignment.

The first major physical works to be undertaken on the light rail project will involve raising London Circuit. The ACT government is working towards construction starting as early as this year or early 2022. This is entirely dependent on commonwealth planning approval processes and procurement.

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