Page 2243 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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That there will be a transition to higher use of passenger rapid-transport networks is inevitable, but there will remain a need to meet the social and economic demand for efficient freight transport, and that is the main game for the Majura parkway—efficient, national freight.

Although there will be improved commutes between some locations for some Canberrans as they travel from their suburb to recreational activities and work, the biggest effects and benefits will be from the movement of freight. As it happens, and I mentioned this too earlier in my speech, the majority of workplaces are in the city, parliamentary zone and town centres and that is also where we undertake many of our recreational activities.

The Majura parkway will move significant numbers of heavy vehicles away from the main northern entrance to the ACT, along the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue, getting the trucks out of north Canberra, with consequent improvements to other road users as well as the residents of north Canberra.

The government, of which I am proud to be the newest member, has put a cogent argument to the commonwealth that the Majura parkway is a strategic connection link in the national freight network. Roads such as the Majura parkway are long-term investments, not short-term costs. Contrary to the claims by some, the returns to the ACT and the nation have been clearly identified in all the supporting documentation.

I add my strong support to the ACT government in its continuing negotiations with the federal government and plan for the development of the Majura parkway. This is an ACT, a regional and a national project of significance and deserves widespread support.

I wish to reiterate what I think are the three key reasons why we must continue to seek support from the commonwealth to construct the Majura parkway project. The first is the national aspect, which will see the Majura parkway become the primary link between two great national roads, the Federal Highway and the Monaro Highway, which are our freight routes and which will continue to see considerable traffic growth—an expected doubling in the next 10 to 15 years.

The second is the impact on our region as the new Majura parkway will open up freight more easily and directly to the rapidly developing Canberra airport precinct. As I mentioned earlier, this will be a catalyst for the airport to grow to its potential and be complementary to broader economic development in the ACT region.

The third will be the improvements to the local traffic flows as the Majura parkway brings greater capacity and higher safety levels to the roads in north Canberra, taking the trucks off the roads in north Canberra. Much heavy vehicle traffic will be removed and diverted from major transport corridors like Northbourne Avenue. This will be an important factor in the planning work underway on that corridor this financial year.

In closing, I confirm my support for the continued promotion by the government of the need for the Majura parkway to be included as a national priority project. The ACT government has committed $144 million towards a fifty-fifty shared funding

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