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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 606 ..

MS LEE: Minister, what modelling, if any, has the Labor-Greens government done on how the $15,000 loan scheme will increase the uptake of rooftop solar in the ACT and how it will lead to more solar energy being put into the grid and more congestion?

MR RATTENBURY: I will have to take that on notice. The Chief Minister has lead responsibility for that household loans scheme. I do not have that information to hand.

Light rail—progress update

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, can you please outline the broad benefits of light rail to Canberra?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Pettersson for his question. I never thought I would say this, but I will refer to the comments made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, who said that extending the light rail will create jobs and cut congestion in the ACT by improving public transport and pedestrian and cyclist safety. I could not have put it better, Madam Speaker. Light rail to Woden will create a north-south spine for our city. We expect that it will create over 6,000 jobs, and many more indirect jobs in our hospitality and retail sectors.

The benefits of light rail go well beyond construction. It will encourage Canberrans to use public transport. This is a key part of the ACT’s transport strategy. We are committed to a safer, greener and less congested Canberra. Transport benefits have been proven on stage 1. Light rail is already helping Canberrans to make the choice to use public transport. We have seen sustained popularity through higher patronage figures. More than 43 per cent of people surveyed on light rail have stated that they never used public transport before catching light rail. Patronage at the moment has returned to about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. We are optimistic that over time these levels will be surpassed, as we go through the pandemic recovery. The addition of a new Sandford Street stop in Mr Pettersson’s electorate will no doubt help to grow these figures even further.

Taking light rail to Commonwealth Park and then on to Woden will mean that more Canberrans can share in the same benefits that those on Canberra’s north side have benefited from.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please provide an update to the Assembly on the progress of the construction of the new light rail stop in Mitchell?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary. The Sandford Street stop is one of the government’s important infrastructure projects that has helped to create jobs during the COVID-19 recovery. It will add a 14th stop for the existing light rail network, which will grow to 17 with the delivery of light rail stage 2A in the future as well. This stop will allow Mitchell to enjoy the benefits of light rail at the southern end of Mitchell, in addition to the Well Station Drive stop, so that people can access the many businesses there. It will also provide residents of the future suburb of Kenny with access to a clean, modern and integrated public transport network.

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