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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3381 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

is far preferable to previous options, and, on all the evidence that I have seen, far preferable to the western option. I am happy that other members in this place feel the same way.

MR OSBORNE (4.19): Mr Speaker, to me there is no single factor that makes one of the two proposed road alignments better than the other-if there were, this decision would be much easier to make. The challenge I faced was to weigh the comparative strengths and weaknesses of both alignments, and then make an on-balance decision.

In preparing for the vote today I have concentrated my attention almost solely on the western and eastern alignment options. I have given only limited attention to those areas that are common to both routes, as I see the need for a freeway connecting Gungahlin and the Tuggeranong Parkway as not only essential but already long overdue.

In studying the 31-year historical record of some 20 transport studies done in the ACT, I was easily convinced that public transport alone was not going to get the people of Gungahlin to work in the morning and home again at night. In fact, I noted that even with bus patronage set at an optimistic 25 per cent, and with increasing employment in the Gungahlin town centre, just one freeway was not going to be enough. At least one additional freeway to the Gungahlin Drive extension will be needed by the time the township reaches a population of 50,000-a day that will come sooner than most people think. Maybe that is a debate for another time.

Mr Speaker, to better inform myself on the issues in this debate, I too, like Mr Moore, have walked along each of the proposed routes, from where they separate at Kaleen and join again near the Bruce CIT campus. There are a number of features that are common to both routes. Both options are similar in their ability to distribute traffic, coming from Gungahlin away from North Canberra residential suburbs. Both also have similar impacts on the area's geology and water and air quality.

For me, the main difference between the two alignments centres on three things: their respective impact on the environment, their impact on residential and recreational amenity, and the difference in cost. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that cost alone would not be a major factor. In fact, I still think it is only a minor one, but one that we do need to consider.

I do not consider one of those factors to be more important than another, and I will cover each one in turn. Although different, both routes have a distinct impact on the environment. The western alignment travels through the Kaleen grasslands, an area with good conservation value and home to one of those little creatures that seem to gravitate to wherever there is a yellow development sign, and that is the legless lizard. After crossing through the AIS car park, the southern end of this route travels through a hectare or so of good-quality woodland between the AIS running track and the CIT.

The eastern alignment also impacts on the environment, although it does so quite differently. After crossing Ginninderra Drive and Tucker Street, the proposed route travels on top of and inside Masterman Street, before circling around the edge of the main Bruce Stadium athletics track towards the CIT.

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