Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1808 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
to be in the median strip between the old and new sections of the highway. I gather that a concern has been raised by the road engineers that the trees may be too close to the highway for the planned speed limit of 100 to 110 kilometres per hour, but really do we want such a speed limit so close to Canberra? This section of road should probably be 80 kilometres per hour to slow drivers down.
Ms Carnell: It is a highway.
MS TUCKER: It is a highway. We love speed!
MR CORBELL (5.20): The Labor Party will be supporting this motion from Ms Tucker. The reason why we will be supporting it is that, unlike the Chief Minister with her ill-informed comments, the Labor Party has some appreciation of environmental issues and how they relate to the development of major roads.
The Labor Party has received representations from a range of groups concerned about the proposed duplication of the Federal Highway. These are not concerns that the duplication should not occur. Quite clearly, safety and other issues overwhelmingly indicate that duplication must occur. I want to make that very clear from the beginning. We are not arguing against duplication of the Federal Highway. The road must be duplicated. The issue is how it is duplicated and how we can make sure that some of the environmental values of the gateway to our city are maintained as part of that duplication.
I myself have received representations from a group known as ACT for Trees. This organisation has been very active and vocal in advocating the importance of trees in the built environment of the city. The Minister, in speaking to the condolence motion for Professor Lindsay Pryor, acknowledged the significance of trees in the built landscape as part of the garden city and indeed the bush capital that we all love.
The Federal Highway is the major entrance for a lot of visitors who come to Canberra by car. It is currently, and certainly as we lead up to the Olympics and beyond will continue to be, the main entrance for many visitors to our city who choose to travel here by car. Currently the road is not of an acceptable standard. The duplication, hopefully, will resolve the problems. The entrance into the city has significant plantings of mature trees along either side of the Federal Highway. Many of them are close to 100 years old. Many others are 60 to 80 years old. They provide a very symbolic entrance into the bush capital.
The concern that the Labor Party shares with the Greens is that to date there has not been any real recognition that this is an issue that must be seriously addressed in planning for the duplication of the Federal Highway. We have seen other examples of major road construction and duplication where this issue has been very effectively addressed. One very good example just down the road is the upgrade of the Lake George stretch of the Federal Highway. There we saw very close consultation and close cooperation between the contractors and the government authority responsible for that very large project and local environment and other groups concerned about the impact that road could have on the environmental values of the area. There we have seen very high-quality work in retention dams to take the water flow off the road, work to do with the wetlands area along the shore of Lake George and connections between the shoreline and the ridge