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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 174 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

The concern I have is that if we truly are to represent the people of Canberra and of our electorates then we should be doing what is best for the majority of those people. In excess of 80 per cent of Gungahlin residents use cars as their preferred mode of transport. It concerns me is that we are delaying the building of a road because one group wants the western option. The eastern option is the fastest one. And now the transport issue has come out of left field.

As I said, I applaud Ms Tucker for some of her suggestions. However, I would like to do what is best for Gungahlin residents, and that is to build a road and build it as soon as possible. Let us not waste any more time.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (4.41): Mr Corbell's amendment, I believe, should be supported with Ms Dundas' amendments to it. The electors of the ACT have clearly indicated that the government should proceed to construct the Gungahlin Drive extension on an alignment to the west of the Australian Institute Sport as soon as practicable. We must provide adequate access to the growing Gungahlin district. Delay of the construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension will seriously disadvantage Gungahlin residents. This major road forms part of Canberra's peripheral arterial road network which takes traffic around the towns, reducing traffic volumes on suburban roads.

Only this morning I made a first-hand examination of Gungahlin's traffic. It was different from my usual route down the Monaro Highway. It made the point that the road is needed. I had to go to Gungahlin because a family member had a car that is out of operation for a time, and the bus network for that family, with its commitments, simply does not provide an option. That is the case with so many people. I understand that.

The inevitability of a road through this area was laid down nearly 40 years ago. That was when it was decided that Canberra would be a dispersed city with various town centres linked by road. This was in the period before we heard about greenhouse and before the oil crisis. Planners agreed then to an expanded city. That is when this road network was first put on the maps. This was to be a city for cars and for roads.

We might do it differently today, and we are now struggling as best we can to overcome the problems that that design and planning have brought upon us. I think we all commit to having to do certain things but, given the nature of the city, it is no easy task. I agree with Ms Tucker that we must try the best we can to overcome the problems that were created then.

The residential areas have followed that planning, and the roads must come with it. I remember the fuss, which still continues today, when as planning minister I tried to slow down that development and tried to get a bit more urban consolidation. That was not popular in every area, I well recall.

We know the community's interest and their concern about the environmental impact of any new road. I am the environment minister, and I will see that environmental interests are protected. To assess the environmental effects of the future Gungahlin Drive extension on an alignment west of the AIS, there will be a separate evaluation by an external organisation. While some of the broad environmental effects were included in the John Dedman Parkway preliminary assessment, the more detailed work in that

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