Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2690 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
from North Canberra, move somewhere close to where they have lived for perhaps a substantial part of their life. On that basis, they may need links not just for work but for other travel aspects fairly close to Gungahlin, but we need to find that out in detail, and I would encourage the Government to take on a comprehensive survey of that area.
I do not think there is an enormous amount of time in front of the Minister and this Assembly to get this planning under way. If work started seriously now, it would still be three years before there was any road in place and probably somewhat longer before there was any light rail in place. This is the time when the Assembly and its committees must attend to this important need.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (10.54): Mr Speaker, I have spoken on this motion already, so I seek leave to say something more.
MR HUMPHRIES: I hope I do not contradict myself from the previous occasion. I note that this motion contains, in a sense, a recital of the issues that will have to be addressed before any work can be done on a major arterial road to the east of the city centre through the area that is known as the Canberra Nature Park. To borrow from Shakespeare, it showest me the way that I was going, and it provides, as I said, a recital of the issues that will have to be addressed before there can be any serious exploration of that particular option to provide for traffic to move from Gungahlin and parts of North Canberra to the city centre.
Obviously, the Government would be loath to take action which would seriously undermine the ecological, recreational and educational values of those areas both to the east and to the west of North Canberra, and it is hoped there would not be any steps that would constitute such a threat. I suppose I should put on record the fact that the construction of a major road of any kind could be said to constitute some threat to the environment, in that roads consume a large amount of land and they generally have the effect of dividing areas that sometimes are part of the same ecosystem or the same ecological entity in a way that causes some damage to the environment. It is also possible that there could be damage done to areas that people consider important for recreational purposes by construction of such a road.
I am not clear from the motion whether Ms Tucker is suggesting that there should not be a road or whether she is saying that any route for the road must be well away from any areas that might be considered ecologically, recreationally and educationally sensitive. Certainly, if that is the case, I accept the point being made, and at the appropriate time there will need to be an assessment of what impact any proposed route might have on those particular values. I support the idea of there being a full assessment before any work is carried out. Certainly, the reference in the third paragraph to environmental assessment countenances a full environmental impact statement, and I would be surprised