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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3730 ..

Last year the ACT government released a comprehensive transport strategy for the ACT, which we also consulted on. This strategy outlines our plans to reduce road congestion and vehicle carbon emissions as Canberra continues to grow. The strategy focuses on strengthening choice, by providing a diversity of flexible, reliable and sustainable ways for Canberrans to move around our city.

Dr Paterson touched upon Jane Jacob’s views about the way we should be designing living cities. That is really important, because she was very much a person who was against the garden city ideology. There are many good things about garden cities, but there are also some really bad things. One of them is the nature of our city and the way that it was originally planned—it is spread out, which is not conducive to good design for public transport systems. It means that there is less passive surveillance along often dead areas of our city, along many of our major roads between the suburbs in particular. We need to work to address those failings of the planning system, those historical failings, as we move forward. We can do that through the recommendations in this report and through the transport strategy, particularly as our city continues to grow sustainably.

Our vision is for a world-class transport system that supports a compact, sustainable and vibrant city. That means prioritising a well-connected public transport network and high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure which connects people to local and regional centres, as well as key employment and entertainment hubs like the city.

We are backing up this strategy with a very real investment in more frequent public transport services; in active travel infrastructure like cycleways and footpaths; and in new modes of transport like the shared e-scooter scheme, which will roll out to the whole of the city in 2022. All of these contribute to making Canberra a more connected, vibrant and sustainable city.

We are currently delivering record investment in both public transport and active travel infrastructure. The government’s $5 billion infrastructure program outlined in the budget includes $45 million for new active travel initiatives right across Canberra. This builds our pipeline of current walking and cycling projects to $77 million over the forward estimates.

A very significant share of this money will be invested on Canberra’s south side, where I know Dr Paterson has had a lot of feedback. This includes delivering a four-kilometre new shared path along the southern side of Sulwood Drive between Drakeford Drive and Athllon Drive, connecting with the rest of our shared path network. We are also constructing a new shared path connection and bridge linking Coombs near Klos Crossing to the city cyclepath network.

Sometimes taking decisive action to meet the needs of our community in the long term brings with it some short-term challenges. This is the case with delivering light rail to Woden, which is focused on building a better public transport system for Canberra. Building light rail will help to make Canberra a more connected, sustainable and vibrant city.

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