Page 1743 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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Through its 2005-06 capital works program, the government has allocated $6 million to commence the streetscape improvements for Childers Street, which is one of the key destination points for cultural and artistic activity—indeed, the very cosmopolitan activity that Mr Seselja refers to in his speech. This money will also assist in commissioning a unique furniture range for Canberra central that will ultimately be rolled out across the city.

As I have already indicated, $700,000 has been included to replace all the street name signs in the city, again to help create a unique image but also to improve clarity of location for those visiting and wanting to navigate their way around the central area. Go to Melbourne, go to the central parts of Sydney, go to Brisbane and you will see that these initiatives have been replicated in those cities. Those cities have put in place comprehensive signage, comprehensive public realm improvement, and they make a difference to the look and feel of the city centre.

The initial engineering feasibility and design for extending Edinburgh and Constitution avenues to Vernon Circle and removing the cloverleaves of Commonwealth Avenue onto London Circuit will also be made possible by a $500,000 allocation in the capital works budget. Again, Mr Speaker, through you, I want to take Mr Seselja to task because he claims in his speech that this project is, in some way, pre-empting the outcome of the government’s consideration of what happens on City Hill. Well, I do not know whether Mr Seselja has actually noticed, but, regardless of which proposal we look at around the future development of City Hill, it involves the removal of the cloverleaves—the cloverleaf, on/off ramps off Commonwealth Avenue onto London Circuit and vice versa. It involves the extension of Constitution Avenue and Edinburgh Avenue in either a minor or major way through to Vernon Circle.

These are pieces of work that are commonly accepted as needing to be done so that we know how we can free up that land, which is currently made alien by traffic, into developable land that can be used to revitalise the city centre. Mr Seselja clearly does not understand some of the basic infrastructure issues that must be addressed in this very important issue.

In addition, the city, like all other centres in Canberra, will be the beneficiary of the $6.7 million allocated for the installation of a real-time information system for the city’s bus network, which will also tie in with the Belconnen to city busway designs that are being prepared and will have a further $3 million provided in the next financial year. I would have thought that the Liberal Party would have been aware that those cities that are competitive, those cities that are modern and that attract young people into them, are also cities that deliver quality public transport services, particularly in the city centre.

This government, unlike the previous government, has made the investment in public transport. Real-time information will assist in completely changing the way Canberrans view public transport provision, because they will know when the buses are arriving, they will know how long they have to wait, and it will bring that reliability of service and that perception of reliability that people currently have difficulty with when it comes to choosing public transport over the private motor vehicle.

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