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MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (11.37): Mr Speaker, I might say something briefly before this debate is adjourned. The issue of traffic from Gungahlin is a very sensitive and very difficult one, and it presents the Territory generally with no easy options. Members are well aware that, with Gungahlin growing, the need for people from that area to move to the city and points further south grows almost on a daily basis. Even if we assume a significantly higher level of public transport use - and that is part of the reason that there has been so much debate about a light rail link with Gungahlin - there will be a need for us to consider significant additional road capacity between Gungahlin and the rest of the city as Gungahlin grows.

The Gungahlin external travel study identified the need to accommodate an additional peak capacity of over 12,000 vehicles per hour. I assume that that is at the point that Gungahlin is completed. But 12,000 extra vehicles an hour spells a very big motorway, Mr Speaker, I would submit. The options that were identified for that purpose, the options that Ms Tucker referred to in her remarks, were the John Dedman Parkway, passing between Belconnen and North Canberra; the Majura Parkway, going to the east through the Majura Valley; and Monash Drive, also to the east but to the west of Mount Majura, along the slopes of Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura. Mr Speaker, those options all entail very high dollar figures for the Territory. At least two of the options entail considerable impact on residents in parts of North Canberra. They all entail difficult decisions about how the Territory is to accommodate those needs, while at the same time integrating a strategy for appropriate urban public transport.

Mr Speaker, the joint standing committee of the Federal Parliament has also had a look at those issues and expressed some views about them. Ultimately we will have to make a decision about those issues as well. I suggest that it is important for us to explore all the options fully. If we take the view that no existing green space of whatever kind ought to be disturbed, then we have a very considerable problem on our hands, because the cost of building a tunnel from Gungahlin to the city would be rather immense. The alternative is to look at how we constructively encourage people to use public transport short of forcing them onto trains, trams and buses or to explore ways of providing them with appropriate road links with the rest of Canberra which are commensurate with the volume of people who will be using these links in the future.

Gungahlin has the potential to be the largest township in the Territory - 100,000 people or more within 20 or so years. It is incumbent on us to plan appropriately for those contingencies because, as sure as night follows day, in a few years’ time when the pressure builds up on existing road links we as members of the Assembly will all be under pressure to answer the question, “Why have you not made provision for the people of Gungahlin to get to the rest of Canberra?”. The people of North Canberra will almost certainly say, “Why have you not made provision for some alternative routes for people passing through our streets?”. Those are issues which have to be addressed.

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