Page 3603 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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This is going to come as a big surprise to you, Mr Pratt—through you, Mr Speaker—but in 2006 the Caswell Drive stretch had not been completed. In fact, the advice given to me was that it would take about 12 months from the time that stretch of the road was opened before that level of traffic volume would be achieved. The reality of the day is that when we did the traffic numbers we found that the 19,000 coming from Gungahlin joined the 10,000 from Belconnen Way, and it was earlier than my recent advice.

I do not know what tricky little thing Mr Pratt is trying to achieve by this. The question really should have been: what did you do when you realised that it was 29,000? The answer to that is that we commissioned the work to duplicate Caswell Drive. We had anticipated that we would have to do that about 12 months, or maybe even a little bit more, after the road was opened.

We knew that with the construction of the GDE and the changes to the Caswell Drive stretch a lot of people were using alternative routes. They were going down Flemington Road, Horse Park Drive, Northbourne Avenue, Adelaide Avenue and a whole series of other arterial roads and overloading them by in excess of 20,000-odd a day.

We did not have an absolute date when the people would come off those major arterial roads and change their driving habits and embrace the GDE. As it turned out what happened what that people embraced the GDE a lot earlier than we had thought when we originally intended to open it. Mr Pratt is saying to me, “Well, people have embraced it earlier than you thought they would.” I am happy with that. That revealed 29,000 cars a day. That is what happened.

What did we do about that? We commissioned the duplication of the Caswell Drive part of the road.

MR PRATT: Jesus wept! I do not know why the 2002 figures do not add up. Anyway, minister, why did you mislead the viewers of WIN News last week on this issue? You know what the figures were.

MR HARGREAVES: I did not, Mr Speaker. The fact was that my advice in recent times was that we would expect the traffic volumes to have been achieved considerably later than they were. Once they were realised we moved to address that particular issue. Mr Speaker, it is just a really stupid question from a really stupid person.

Mr Pratt: No, it is not. You predicted 29,000 cars in 2002. You bloody idiot!

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Pratt, withdraw that.

Mr Pratt: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Pratt. No more interjections.

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