Page 1419 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.50): I thank Ms Porter for raising this issue today, and I will be supporting the motion. The Greens have consistently advocated a long-term vision for our city—an environmentally sustainable vision that maps out our future as a city that is liveable, well connected and well prepared for future challenges such as climate change, population growth and peak oil.

The proposed city to lake project is an important piece of the planning picture, and we welcome the opportunity for the Canberra community to engage in the public debate on how this part of our city should evolve. There are aspects in the draft plan we clearly support—changes to Parkes Way, for example, to break the physical barrier between Civic and the waterfront to bring the life of the city down to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin as intended in the original Griffin plan. I think most planners in the ACT agree that one of the key things that ruined the full implementation of the Griffin vision was the fact that Parkes Way cut off the city from the lake. This is what the city to lake project aims to correct. Unfortunately, it is a very expensive issue to correct and it shows that it is, of course, always better to get planning as right as possible in the first instance.

The idea of the lakeside swimming area is an interesting one and has gained quite a range of responses from the public. I will be interested to see how the community responds to this idea through the course of community consultation. There is, of course, absolutely no point in creating a beach at Lake Burley Griffin if the water quality is so poor that we cannot actually swim in it. As members know, water quality in the lake is something the Greens have actively campaigned on, and we are looking forward to the implementation of the lake care item outlined in the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement over the next four years so that we can see some tangible improvements in water quality in our lakes and waterways and Canberrans can enjoy swimming in our beautiful Lake Burley Griffin more consistently than they currently can.

We believe it is important that the plan for this part of the city brings light rail into the picture. Stage 1 of light rail will travel from Gungahlin to Civic, but it is important that we also complete the light rail master plan for the whole city and to determine how this key transport infrastructure will be extended from Civic and further south. We also need to ensure that pedestrian and cycle access is considered thoughtfully so that new paths link to existing path networks and people can continue to access the waterfront and get in and out of the city to where they live.

This plan will also need to include a practical solution to road access through Civic to Commonwealth Avenue as well as to local user points in the area and ensure that good public transport options are included. This is an area where we expect residential dwellings to significantly increase over time. One of the opportunities it presents is the option of planning for public transport priority right from the start. This is something we are starting to do better in new areas such as the Molonglo suburbs, but Canberra has a history of designing new infrastructure and estates in a way that locks out quality public transport in the future.

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