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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2751 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The new technology that Mr Bishop and his group have come up with has harnessed his inventing capacity so that we now have potentially a very effective and very efficient people-moving system that can climb a gradient and can turn very sharp corners safely. If it can be perfected here, it has application to every city in the world. The ability to retrofit a city with a people-moving system is something that I am sure has stumped most planners, but the answer may be developed here in Canberra.

What the Austrans group clearly saw was the technological ability, the development that goes on here and the supercomputers that are available at our universities which would help develop not only the technology but also the ticketing system. It is great to have the technology, but it has to work and it has to deliver. Smartcard technology and supercomputing programming have the potential to allow the people-moving system to work more efficiently and meet our needs. What we have is a very high-speed train project on which a lot of work has been done in Canberra and a lot of leadership has been shown by the Carnell Government, particularly by the Chief Minister. There were times when both the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government, you would have to say, were less than interested. We put up the money, we put up the secretariat and the work has been done.

I hope that the proving-up period will be over quickly and that it will prove that it is viable and can go ahead. You would then link that to the concept that the Capital Airport Group has for an international airport - not just an airport and not just a place where planes would come and go; it would become a destination in its own right, with a vision for the future that includes all the sorts of things that Canberra should be promoting. (Extension of time granted) I refer not only to environmental trade zones and the concept of an engineering or a technological university of some sort but also to bringing those regional airlines through the ACT, allowing the people of all the regions of southern New South Wales to see us as a natural place that they would go to for the sorts of services that they require, whether they be medical, financial, shopping or recreation. That all adds to what we are as a city and the viability of this place as a city.

These are tremendous days. It is great that the country is at last thinking about a big project which really has the ability to tie us together as a nation, but it ties us together with Canberra at the centre of that nation. Instead of all roads leading to Canberra, hopefully all rail and airline routes ultimately will lead to Canberra through these three projects.

MR HIRD (5.30), in reply: I wish to reply quickly to some of the matters that were raised by previous speakers. I must say that I was delighted with the enthusiasm shown by a number of speakers in respect of this motion. Whilst Mr Quinlan gave me a pat on the back, he also gave me a jab in the ribs by saying that he and the Labor Party had some scepticism in respect of this motion. There should be no scepticism in respect of this motion. Indeed, Mr Kaine, more than anyone else, and Mr Cornwell will recall that I raised this question of having an international air terminal back in 1979 when people were looking at constructing a third runway in Sydney. The proposal has been enhanced even more by the very fast train project.

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