Page 2799 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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move on Molonglo, to deliver that land, to create that community as and when it is needed. The work that the ACT Planning and Land Authority has done, along with the National Capital Authority, has identified that, in one instance, the eastern area of Molonglo within 7.5 kilometres of the city centre, a very sustainable outcome, close to all facilities and amenities within the existing urban area, will not need to expand out in the way that we are going in other parts of the city.

The National Capital Authority has endorsed the planning work that shows that this area is potentially urban capable. It has agreed to further planning work happening, and that is under way right now. So we are looking at a range of issues to do with infrastructure, to do with potential settlement areas, to do with environmental issues in the Molonglo Valley. It is not just words; it is actions, actions to follow up on the outcome. It is probably worth reminding members that right now public consultation is under way on issues to do with the potential development of the Molonglo Valley. It is under way right now.

Equally, the spatial plan, and indeed the economic white paper, recognised that our city centre had to remain strong, vibrant and dynamic to be a driver not only of economic activity, but also a variety of cultural and other aspects that are beneficial for the health of our community. We have made the investment to focus on the revitalisation of the city centre. Right now there is over half a billion dollars worth of development activity happening in the city centre. That is an unprecedented level of development activity in the past six to seven years, and certainly since the very early days of self-government. It has been able to be achieved because the government has a clear policy of supporting development in the city centre so that more people can live in the city centre, reducing the need for journeys and increasing the sustainability of our city.

We have also focused on keeping jobs in the city centre and supporting developments that make that happen. We are focused on reforming the planning system in the city centre so that we can allow development that meets the community’s objectives in terms of sustainability, economic development and social vibrancy to proceed. Removing the requirement for preliminary assessments in the city centre is just one example of that. We have a comprehensive program in place in relation to the city centre.

The other important issue that I would like to quickly touch on is the issue of transport. Transport is a major user of energy in our city. It is the second largest energy consuming area after heating and cooling the buildings that we live and work in. Reducing the need for transport by private motor vehicle, or at least capping that growth, is important. This government is the first government to put in place targets, motor-split targets, to reduce or contain the growth in journeys by private motor vehicle and increase the number of journeys that happen by public transport, by walking and by cycling. We are spending the money to make that happen. Again, this is consistent with the Canberra plan framework. For example, we are investing in a new bus fleet, making our bus fleet more attractive, reducing the fares so that it is more economical as well and certainly competitive with the motor vehicle, but also improving the reliability, frequency and availability of services by public transport.

The real-time information system, which the government announced in the budget with funding of $7.5 million, is not just about improving frequency and reliability, but also about improving patronage. The very clear data is that using real-time information can

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