Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 433 ..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
Gungahlin swamped in a much wider debate. Obviously there is merit in having a much wider debate, but localised attention to specific options is also required.
Consideration must be given to ideas such as using the Gungahlin Drive extension transport corridor to add a light rail option between Gungahlin and Belconnen and between Belconnen and Civic. In this light it is concerning to me to hear again today of the government's blinkered approach to building the western alignment for Gungahlin Drive. Adding a light rail option to this alignment could totally change the equation for this roadway and prove a defining factor against this alignment. On the one hand, the minister is saying, "Our mind is open about light rail, although we give it no commitment," while on the other hand he could be shutting out its options, and that could sound its death knell.
The Canberra community needs an assurance that the minister is asking the right questions, an assurance that can be provided only by tabling the terms of reference of this inquiry before the study begins.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.18): Mr Speaker, unlike the Liberal Party, this government has an interest in public transport options for Canberra's future. Unlike the Liberal Party, this government is interested in exploring issues around light rail. Members could be forgiven for thinking that the Liberal Party was really keen on light rail and always had been keen on light rail. But the history is very different.
Members may or may not be aware that the Follett Labor government established an investigation into light rail options for Canberra. That investigation was cancelled by the previous Carnell/Humphries government.
Mr Humphries: No, it was not.
MR CORBELL: It was cancelled. No further work was done, and Kate Carnell, the then Chief Minister, is on the record as saying that it was an unnecessary project and no longer needed to continue.
Mr Humphries: Not so.
MR CORBELL: Mr Humphries says, "Not so." I think you need to be careful, Mr Humphries. Mrs Cross' sudden enthusiasm for light rail is indeed welcome, but it smacks somewhat of hypocrisy.
The government is committed to the examination of future public transport options for Canberra. To that end, the government made a commitment during the election that it would examine the feasibility of light rail in Canberra. Since its election, the government has decided that this examination will take place in conjunction with a broad examination of all public transport options for our city. It includes light rail, but we are also looking at issues such as dedicated busways, bus-only lanes and other forms of mass and rapid public transport.