Page 197 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4:07): Can I thank Mr Coe for this motion today. I join in his interest in roads, transport and infrastructure in the ACT, particularly sustainable infrastructure and sustainable transport systems. It does fall a little into my bailiwick, in that for the past two years, of course, I was the executive director of the Motor Trades Association.
I thought I might share with those in the Assembly today some statistics on motor vehicles in the ACT. Currently the ABS stats tell us that we have 370,000 people that reside in Canberra. We had, according to the ACT motor vehicle registry, in 2011 310,000 registered motor vehicles. Of course, the city was designed by Walter Burley Griffin for 30,000 people, not 370,000. So that figure of 310,000 registered motor vehicles breaks down to one registered motor vehicle for every person of driving age and over. It is increasing at the same rate as our population growth, that is, two per cent per annum according to ABS stats. That is a possible extra 6,000 registered motor vehicles on the road every year. It is great for MTA members, of course, because that keeps their businesses going, but it is hardly sustainable for Canberra.
The development of the road network is very important. However, it needs to be seen in the context, as I have said, of an overall integrated transport solution for Canberra. This solution will involve not only road upgrades but sustainable investment in public transport services and infrastructure improvement, including light rail and, of course, more investment in walking and cycling.
If we look at the government’s transport for Canberra policy, we will see that it sets a strategic direction for informing the delivery and prioritisation of transport infrastructure, programs and services across the territory. It also includes measures to manage travel and parking demand in the most efficient and cost-effective way for the Canberra community. These initiatives are vital to respond to the challenges of air quality, congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
In terms of the road network, transport for Canberra establishes an orbital ring road network, with the efficient movement of traffic and freight being the main priority. A key missing connection in the network is the Majura Parkway. This $288 million road link, jointly funded with the Australian government, will be a new 11.5 kilometre road connection that will link the Federal Highway to the Monaro Highway. It will provide a high-standard, four-lane route servicing freight, tourism, locals and interstate visitors.
Members will be aware that the contract for construction of this project has been let to the company Fulton Hogan. The company is gearing up and I expect that Canberrans will see work start on this site, on this essential piece of road infrastructure, in the very near future.
The orbital road network is complemented by, and works in tandem with, the rapid public transport corridors, where we aim to prioritise public transport in order to manage traffic and travel demand most efficiently. On these rapid transit corridors we use measures like bus priority lanes, transitways or, for the Gungahlin to city corridor, light rail, to ensure that as many people as possible can use public transport rather