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meet our lifestyle objectives and what the trade-offs are in the future between people using public transport and their own vehicles. This will enable the Government to fashion a range of cohesive policies, including transport and related policies, which focus on the community's needs.

The momentum of sustainable economic growth will generate increased employment and business activity, particularly in Civic and the other town centres. However, the level of these increases will be greatly influenced by the quality of the transport infrastructure that is serving the town centres. A higher overall level of activity funnelled into more concentrated centres cannot be supported by continually building roads and freeways for private cars. Public transport in all its forms - whether that be bus, taxi, minibus, maxitaxi or even light rail - has the capacity to attract development and stimulate employment growth. It has the capacity to provide more opportunity for the Government to attract private sector involvement and investment and develop an economically and environmentally sustainable city.

It is with great pleasure that the Government stands to speak on the matter of public importance. There is no doubt that the social, environmental and economic necessity for a high-quality public transport system in the ACT is something that all members of this Assembly should support.

MR WHITECROSS (4.00): I am pleased to be able to speak on this matter of public importance. We in the Labor Party have always regarded public transport as a very significant issue, an issue that is about a number of the objectives the Labor Party holds dear, ranging from social objectives to planning objectives to environmental objectives to issues of economic efficiency. The terms of the matter of public importance Ms Tucker has put together we can readily endorse, and I would like to talk a little on how we see these things.

I particularly want to highlight and support Ms Tucker’s comments about externalities and the need to take account not just of the raw economic costs of things but also of costs forgone, impacts avoided, et cetera, by using a high-quality public transport system. A lot of the benefits of a public transport system are not apparent in the numbers we see in our budget papers and our annual reports. They are the hidden savings of less greenhouse gas emissions, less encroachment on our surrounding environment, better social integration, and social justice for people who do not have access to other forms of transport. These are the things we should be thinking about when we talk about public transport.

I welcome the breadth of what Mr De Domenico had to say in his speech today. One of the things that concern me about Mr De Domenico's approach to this issue and some of the rhetoric he has produced, in relation in particular to the ACT’s public transport system, ACTION, is the overemphasis on financial considerations at the expense of the other considerations that make up the total fabric of our reason for having a public transport system. In discussing public transport, it is very important that these issues not be considered in isolation from the wider issues that concern us in this place. Public transport is part of the broader planning and social agendas we have.

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