Page 1766 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 5 May 2010

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MR STANHOPE: I am more than happy to do that. It does need to be acknowledged that some of the central aspects of the plan go to an acknowledgement of the need for us to bite the bullet on issues that have been raised here repeatedly. I acknowledge that they have been raised over the last two years regularly in discussion and, indeed, within the chamber by members of the Greens party, in relation to dedicated transit ways and the suite of initiatives that need to be taken or addressed to attract people more readily to use public transport, to make it more reliable, more regular, more appealing and more used. The government has been pleased to respond to an ongoing conversation with the Greens party in relation to issues such as the need for a dedicated transit way between the ACT and Queanbeyan. We will, in this financial year, begin the process of feasibility and design and we will, through that work, develop a dedicated transit way to Queanbeyan. This is something that has been raised with me on a number of occasions by the Greens.

Similarly, there is Northbourne Avenue. Northbourne Avenue probably represents, in the context of retrofitting an existing road, the greatest challenge to road and transport planners and engineers. Exactly what do we do to deal with the issue of easy bus transport? It is incredibly complex; it is difficult. It is a narrow corridor, relatively. It has established avenues of trees that the people of Canberra will not part with easily. It is difficult to widen the verge on the outer edge of the roads. There will be issues around the central verge, not just because of the trees but because of the very significant services that are laid down the middle, and it will require a detailed community conversation as we move forward on the design of Northbourne Avenue.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the increase in the ACTION budget as part of this investment in public transport?

MR STANHOPE: The entire public transport package, or transport for Canberra package, is a package of just under $97 million, $86 million of which is capital and $10 million of which is additional operating expenditure—essentially direct budget funding for ACTION services. The most significant part of that is, I believe, a $6 million commitment over four years to the maintenance of the Redex route. The Redex route will now be incorporated within the network. It was initiated as a trial, as you would recall, Ms Bresnan. I acknowledge the conversations that were held with you and your colleagues and the government’s response to your representations and position in relation to this. The Redex will now become an entrenched part of the network. In addition, it will be extended to Fyshwick, and $6 million has been provided in the ongoing operation of funds to ACTION to ensure that the Redex is an incorporated part of the network.

In the context of that, as I have just indicated, Redex will be extended to Fyshwick. At Fyshwick it is our intention, as we connect eventually, over the next few years, to a transit way to Queanbeyan, to develop a park-and-ride at Fyshwick—hopefully a park-and-ride where we can, in consultation with the Queanbeyan City Council, ensure some integration between the two transport providers—ACTION and most probably Deane’s—in relation to how we connect our two communities.

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