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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3387 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

in Civic; encouraging commercial development and jobs in Gungahlin, Mitchell and Belconnen; implementing a detailed commuter cycleway strategy; and introducing measures to increase the number of passengers per vehicle and to spread peak traffic loads.

The government's response to these recommendations has been half-hearted at best and quite contradictory at worst. For example, the ACT government has made no commitment to establish its own government offices in the Gungahlin town centre. In fact, it has encouraged new employment outside of the town centres-for example, Brindabella Business Park at the airport. Under the government's zonal bus fare system, Gungahlin commuters pay double fares to travel to Civic. If the government was serious about helping Gungahlin residents, it should abandon straight away its inequitable fare zoning system.

The Gungahlin external travel study and the JPC report also recommended that consideration be given to upgrading the Majura Road to act as an eastern ring road from Gungahlin to central Canberra, with a connection to the Monaro Highway and the southern parts of Canberra. Nobody seems to be opposed to this road. It would divert traffic right away from North Canberra, and the environment of the Majura Valley is already considerably altered and is unlikely to be used for residential purposes in the foreseeable future because of the airport. The government should have started work on this road years ago.

What I find most appalling is that over the last 10 years the government has been putting off the hard decisions about how to reduce transport demand from Gungahlin. In the meantime, Gungahlin has been getting bigger and bigger and more and more cars have been travelling through North Canberra streets, thus making the Gungahlin Drive extension seem like the only solution available to meet the transport needs of Gungahlin residents. In fact, the timing of the Gungahlin Drive extension has been brought forward because of the huge reliance of Gungahlin residents on private vehicles, assisted of course by this government's public transport policies. In 1997 Mr Humphries said that the road would not be needed for 10 years. Yet now the government wants the road open by 2004. Some Gungahlin residents want it even sooner.

Let me say that this debate should not be about pitting Gungahlin residents against North Canberra residents. In fact, I believe that Gungahlin residents are getting a raw deal as a result of all this focus on the Gungahlin Drive extension. The freeway will not eliminate traffic congestion on North Canberra roads-it will just channel it into new locations. What we should be looking at is how to give Gungahlin residents greater transport choice, rather than just having to rely on using their cars all the time and having to face congested roads in and out of Gungahlin.

If this road goes ahead in whichever alignment, it will be a disaster for the native bushland at Bruce and O'Connor Ridge and for the many residents of the area who use this bushland for recreation and for quiet solitude. The freeway will also generate more traffic on Caswell Drive, thus subjecting these areas to increased traffic noise and fumes.

I have been trying for some time to get the Assembly to examine these broader transport issues. Two years ago I was proud to initiate the Planning and Urban Services Committee inquiry into the Gungahlin Drive extension. The committee had very broad

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