Page 2242 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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in the north but in the south and in the surrounding area, is that it deserves a road of the calibre proposed? (Time expired.)

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (12.07), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contributions to the debate on my first private member’s motion in this place. It is fitting that the matters raised have cast a wider net than simply a discussion about “a bit of road”. It is that, of course, at one level, but as many of us have made clear this is a critical piece of infrastructure which has the potential to bring solid benefits to the whole of the ACT and the region.

I talked in my speech about the need to create efficient connections from the hubs, such as the airport, Fyshwick and Hume, which generate large volumes of heavy vehicle traffic on the national freight network. I spoke also of the broader benefits to other road users from an upgraded Majura parkway.

Like Mr Coe, I am concerned for the people of Gungahlin. However, he misses the point. The purpose of the Majura parkway is to improve national freight movement and to achieve an economic outcome for Canberra.

Ms Bresnan implies that road freight is not relevant to the Canberra economy. How does she think the solar panels that her colleague was talking about this morning are going to get here? The message from the Greens party today for north Canberra is “four wheels bad, 18 wheels good”.

Regional Development Australia ACT is part of a national network of 55 committees that work with local communities on economic, social and environmental matters. RDA, Regional Development Australia ACT, say that, although the road is solely within the boundary of the ACT, there are major freight implications for the surrounding regions. And they strongly support it being built. Nearby RDAs, those surrounding us, also support the development of the Majura parkway because of the positive impact it will have on regional freight traffic through Cooma-Monaro to Sydney.

We should not forget that more than 50 per cent of Canberrans do not work in the public service—there are more than 25,000 businesses servicing the region, from multinationals to micro businesses. Over half of Canberra’s workforce is employed in our private sector.

I know that the Greens have expressed the view, as they have done before, that there ought to be no new roadworks of this type. I recognise their commitment to public transport and I too support the modal shifts which we will need as we move to a low carbon future, but I cautioned in my speech that they ought not to simplify the arguments to an either/or dichotomy.

The move to greater use of mass transport is an inherent assumption of the ACT government’s transport policies over many years and will remain so in the update to the 2009 strategic public transport network plan, due as part of transport for Canberra later this year. But this is about balancing priorities and timing—the core of so many deliberations and differences between members of this Assembly.

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