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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 937 ..

capacity and safety along Parkes Way, which constantly features in the commentary on road traffic every morning on the radio.

We are also undertaking a corridor study to determine ways of improving the commute for people travelling from Canberra’s south-east—Tuggeranong Parkway onto Parkes Way—looking at future capacity improvements associated with the Molonglo Valley development and ongoing growth there.

Construction on the duplication of the newly named Gundaroo Drive between Ginninderra Drive and the Barton Highway is now well underway. To futureproof this road for future development south of the Barton Highway, in this year’s budget we have invested in the installation of a new signalised intersection between Gundaroo Drive and Owen Dixon Drive. This upgrade will be delivered as part of the duplication which is expected to be completed around 2023.

We know how fast the Molonglo Valley is growing. That is why we are investing in the transport infrastructure to support it. The new John Gorton Drive bridge over the Molonglo River is progressing well, following the approval of the development application earlier this year, with the project to include intersection access to the new future Molonglo commercial centre, on-road cycle lanes and an off-road shared path. We are looking forward to detailed design getting underway.

We are making important and strategic investments in our bus network to support the transition to a zero emissions fleet. This year’s budget starts the work of electrifying the Woden bus depot to enable the charging of electric buses. We have committed to procuring 90 battery electric buses to upgrade our fleet and phase out the most polluting vehicles over the next three years. This investment in the depot is an important enabling project that will see the new zero emissions buses fit seamlessly into our fleet with the charging capability that is required to support them.

On the subject of buses, it is worth highlighting something our government did not do in this year’s budget or those that preceded it. When COVID-19 hit, we saw public transport patronage collapse, compared to passenger numbers the year before. This was, as I mentioned, a trend that was seen around the country. What we did during the pandemic was expand services, and I am really proud that we did that. A number of cities cut them; that was not the right thing to do. We needed that extra capacity to make sure that people could socially distance themselves as much as possible.

During the pandemic, we increased services by 700 services across the network. We also increased frequency on morning light rail services from six minutes to five minutes, a commitment we made prior to the pandemic that we saw through. That reflects the huge number of people using light rail.

We recognise that reliable, accessible public transport is critical for many people across Canberra, including essential workers and, during the pandemic, people who needed to move around the city. Safe, reliable, accessible public transport is an essential public service, and we believe in properly investing in it. Through the Zero-Emission Transition Plan, which outlines the future fleet growth and the future development of depots, we will continue to invest in public transport in years to come.

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