Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3386 ..

MS TUCKER (4.40): The motion before us today is about disallowing the government's variation to the territory plan that confirms the eastern alignment of the Gungahlin Drive extension. This debate is mostly portrayed as a decision over whether the road should go around the east or the west of the AIS, and that is mainly what has been focused on here in this debate. As I have said before many times, this is a narrow view of the issue.

Let me focus again on the bigger picture. The John Dedman Drive, or the Gungahlin Drive, extension is really just one section of a proposed bigger arterial road from the Barton Highway to Parkes Way. There are environmental and social impacts upon the whole length of this work. Not only that, the decision on this road will set the pattern for transport planning in the ACT for many years to come.

It should be remembered that the Maunsell report regarded the Gungahlin Drive extension as just one road amongst many new roads and upgrades that would be needed to deal with Gungahlin's growth-for example, the four-lane Majura Parkway, the new Monash Drive along the base of Mount Ainslie, and a duplicated William Slim Drive through Belconnen.

Canberra really is at the crossroads regarding how it deals with the transport demands of its growing population. That is why the Greens have always said that this debate should really be about determining the most appropriate transport system for the ACT that meets the needs of residents, particularly in Gungahlin and North Canberra, in the most cost effective, socially responsible, and environmentally sound way. It should not just be a question of where more roads are to go.

As other members have said, the issue of transport links to Gungahlin goes back a long way. It is true that the general layout of a network of freeways through North Canberra was included as part of the original Y plan for Canberra that was released in 1970, and that later planning studies continue to show this network. However, the reasons for wanting a freeway in 1970 are quite out of touch with community attitudes in 2001. For example, awareness of the significant negative environmental impact of city traffic was not as pronounced then as it is now. Back then we did not even know about the greenhouse effect and climate change. The knowledge and technology available to operate efficient public transport systems has also advanced considerably since that time.

The Gungahlin external travel study of 1989 conducted by the former NCDC initiated the planning for the Gungahlin Drive extension. This Assembly needs to remember that a review of this study was carried out by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the ACT in 1991. The thrust of the JPC report was quite clearly that a range of non-road options be implemented to lessen the need for car-based travel by Gungahlin residents before-and I stress "before"-consideration was given to building more arterial roads through North Canberra. It particularly wanted an investigation to be made of a rapid transport system. The former Labor government started these investigations but the Liberal government then abandoned the whole process in 1995. Since then we have had a policy vacuum on a transport strategy for the ACT.

Another recommendation of the JPC was that the government implement measures to reduce the number of vehicles travelling between Gungahlin and Civic and other southern destinations. Such measures included: providing bus services to the new Gungahlin suburbs as soon as they were built; limiting the level of employment growth

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .