Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 561 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
a discussion around areas beyond the centre of Canberra. Unfortunately, the minister is once again showing his bias to central Canberra and leaving out the needs of suburban Canberra, where the majority of long car trips are taken. This is particularly the case for Gungahlin, where the lack of job opportunities and transport opportunities means that Gungahlin residents must spend large amounts of time in congested traffic just to go about their normal lives.
I think that it is also important to note that public transport is more than just about getting to and from work. The minister likes to point out that the bulk of the work and employment opportunities exists in the area where his light rail link proposal is being situated. If we had a public transport system that had possibly light rail as a spinal system and a greater networking system of buses through the suburbs, people would then be able to use public transport for more than just getting to and from work. That, I think, is a core part of the social need of public transport.
If we had a public transport system that could effectively run through the night and on the weekends, we would have fewer people drink driving. We would have our young being able to access entertainment venues in the city more easily and safely. I think that an important consideration to keep in mind is that public transport is not just about peak hour travel to and from work. It also has social benefits if it is working properly across all hours of the day. Hence, I support Ms Tucker's substantive motion calling on the government to make the public transport needs of Gungahlin the first priority for its sustainable transport plan.
While light rail should continue to be considered as an option for Gungahlin, the transport needs of Gungahlin are urgent and need to be addressed as soon as possible. There are multiple options for other methods of improving transport, including the investigation of automated dial-a-ride transport, dedicated bus lanes, the introduction of express bus services and improved city access for cyclists.
The fact that Gungahlin has had a much slower and drawn out development than our other town centres is also reflected in the lack of transport links to the other centres. While Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong all have high-frequency express buses and multiple road access to other town centres, this level of infrastructure is yet to exist in Gungahlin.
The recent release of the Canberra social atlas demonstrates the far higher reliance on car transport by Gungahlin due to these considerations, so we need a decent and reliable public transport infrastructure to alleviate congestion on roads and provide equitable access to employment for all residents.
MRS BURKE (4.43): I stand as a member for Molonglo. Ms MacDonald isn't here now. While I support Ms Tucker's motion in principle, I am very concerned that we are debating other approaches to transport solutions, whereas the people of Gungahlin, in particular, just want a way into and out of their suburb, I would suggest.
It is now some 248 days since the money for the Gungahlin Drive extension was allocated. I am very concerned that not one sod has been turned on this project and here we are debating other methods of transport for Canberra. I really am all for lateral approaches to finding solutions to the transport problems facing not only Gungahlin