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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 555 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

now we have to build the road. In addition, we have to build many more services for light rail or mass transit into Gungahlin, because the people there are the ones who are most neglected in terms of public transport.

We should not get too het up about the technology, but I am concerned, and have been concerned for many years, that the mere cost of light rail may be prohibitive. My rough back-of-the-envelope calculation from what I know is that each kilometre of light rail would cost about $2 million and each of the rolling stock would cost about $3 million. Put that together and you have a very expensive system, which is why the Liberal opposition has taken some interest in the hybrid approach adopted by the Civis company out of France, which now runs its hybrid tram-type buses in Rouen, Clermont and now Las Vegas. The Civis technology has the capacity to carry about 3,000 passengers per hour in each direction, as opposed to 1,500 on conventional articulated buses and up to 15,000 on light rail.

It just seems that for a population like Canberra's we should be looking at technology that meets our population base. If we get to the stage where we have about half a million people or so, perhaps we might graduate to light rail. But I don't want to die in a ditch over any particular technology. Really, what I would like to see is this debate leading on to a further debate about how we build in, as Ms Tucker said, the habits of a lifetime and provide a truly integrated system of public transport which is appealing and cost-effective, so that people will start to realise that they can do themselves a favour by taking public transport.

I commend Ms Tucker for bringing this matter before us today and I commend the motion.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (4.19): I, too, thank Ms Tucker for her motion, in particular for recognising that the government has brought this matter back for serious public policy debate. It is a matter on which the government went to the election. It was, in fact, an election commitment of the government to investigate the provision of light rail; particularly light rail services between Gungahlin and Civic, but light rail services more generally as well.

The government has a strong commitment to ensuring that Canberra has the future land use and transport system that will allow it to meet its economic, social and environmental goals. To that end, the development of a sustainable transport plan for Canberra will provide the analysis for an integrated policy framework to support the development of public transport, cycling and walking as part of a sustainable transport system.

When this work is finished later this year it will be the first time in the history of self-government that we have had an integrated transport plan for the city. It will be the first time that we have had an integrated overall strategic plan for the city that deals with economic, social and spatial or land use issues. It is long overdue, but it is work which is important and the creation of the plan itself will be a significant achievement, let alone the work that will flow in the implementation of it.

The sustainable transport plan involves a number of studies, including the public transport futures feasibility study, that is, examining the options for public transport systems in Canberra into the future. It is worth highlighting to members-indeed,

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