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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1928 ..

people on the south side, help prevent future traffic gridlock and cut transport emissions for a cleaner environment. In the process, it will create more than 6,000 local jobs, a great contribution to our target of 250,000 jobs by 2025.

Together, stage 1 and stage 2 of light rail will provide the north–south public transport spine for our city. We are working to deliver an integrated public transport network which sees this spine closely interlinked with our bus network. This will ensure that all Canberrans will benefit from better public transport, not just those who happen to live along the light rail corridor.

As we build out our rail system, powered 100 per cent by renewable electricity, we are taking leading steps on climate action. This includes investing in our bus network to get rid of the dirtiest, most polluting buses on our roads. Earlier this month we released a request for a proposal to lease 34 buses, including zero emissions vehicles. We will be going to market to purchase an additional 90 electric buses later this year. These will support cleaner, more efficient travel for people all over Canberra.

This comes on the back of an expansion of services across our bus network last year, which is delivering an additional 700 bus services each day. These additional buses and the retirement of the older vehicles in our fleet will help us to deliver our plan to transition the full Transport Canberra fleet to zero emissions vehicles by 2040, or earlier if we can do it. We are also building a third bus depot in Woden and we will start work on a fourth depot in Canberra’s north, both of which will be equipped with charging facilities. These depots will allow us to expand our fleet, reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of our public transport network.

Our government is also investing in strategic transport corridors which support our city’s growth. As I have said before, when we build roads, we are actually establishing the backbone upon which we deliver all forms of transport for Canberrans. Our roads connect our new suburbs to the rest of our city, they provide routes for our buses to drive along, they provide the direct connections between key locations for our shared path network to follow and they are increasingly used by Canberra’s expanding zero emissions vehicle fleet.

Without these strategic transport corridors, residents in our new communities would be disconnected from the services and facilities that all other Canberrans enjoy, and isolated from different transport options that help make Canberra a liveable place. That is why we are building the last stage of John Gorton Drive, extension 3C, and a new bridge over the Molonglo River, to better connect residents of the growing Molonglo Valley to the city and Belconnen. The new bridge will be equipped with on-road cycle lanes and an off-road shared path and will accommodate future stages of light rail.

Mr Assistant Speaker, I would like to assure the Assembly and the Canberra community that work is underway on this project and well on track. Preliminary designs have been completed, the development application was approved earlier this year and we have recently signed a contract for the enabling works. The next step will be to procure a tier 1 design and construction contractor, with detailed design to start next year.

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