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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 855 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

very careful when we have this debate in March and to think very hard about supporting the western route, because if they do I think you could probably kiss goodbye to the AIS.

MR KAINE (12.24): Mr Speaker, I have not had a chance to read this report yet, except to casually flick through it. But I must say that, on the face of it, I am extremely disturbed and disappointed that it took a committee two years to do very little other than regurgitate what has appeared in countless reports, come up with no new thinking whatsoever, not a single new thought, and, strangely, conclude that the government's preferred position is the only way to go.

This report is the basis for a great deal of public concern, public controversy and political debate. I would have thought that this government would have wanted to see something more definitive than this report and have the matter resolved before the significant election comes up later this year. I think this report has the makings of a major problem for the government. As I say, it introduces no new thinking and does nothing other than conclude that the government's preferred position is the only way to go.

I do not think the report has made much of a contribution to the debate at all. It is merely going to stimulate further dissension and it is going to stimulate further debate on issues that have merely been restated. There are questions of the importance of Majura Avenue and the impact on places like Northbourne Avenue, Limestone Avenue, Belconnen Way, Ginninderra Drive and Ellenborough Street in Lyneham. All of these problems have been well known for years and yet none of them are really addressed in this report. They are referred to. We all knew about those problems before the committee undertook the inquiry. But what do they see as the solution? The only solution is the government's preferred position. As Ms Tucker has pointed out, on a cursory look it is pretty slim on justification.

Even the money figures that are quoted are pretty rubbery. The report states, and I think Ms Tucker referred to this:

The committee's attention has not been drawn to any factor which would increase the cost of the eastern alignment above the $21m-$22m outlined at the start of this chapter.

What does that mean-that somebody gave them a figure, nobody questioned that figure, so it is right? That seems to be the presumption and that is the basis for opting for the eastern route.

Mr Speaker, I must say that I am extremely concerned at the things that this report does not do. I would have thought that, given that the population of Canberra is now approaching 325,000 and the population of Gungahlin is increasing and will reach something of the order of 100,000, now might have been the time to consider some sort of rapid transit system. If the government, as Ms Tucker has pointed out, can spend tens of millions on the Bruce Stadium, on other transport issues, on sporting events and the like, can we not contemplate spending a significant sum of money on actually building a rapid transit system that serves the needs of this community? We could even plan it to be done over, say, an eight or 10 year period-you do not have to do it all this year or next year. But there is no reference to this.

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