Page 2259 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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This is not just a transport project; it is a city building project. It is about creating and changing the way the city develops into the future. Do we just continue to build more and more suburbs or do we change that mix and give people a real choice to live close to the city centre—increasingly, many people are seeking to do so anyway—and then support that with a fixed, constant and reliable public transport vision at a high frequency? That is what this project is all about.

Of course, the government views this link as only the first link of a broader city-wide network. Whilst our focus over the next four years will be to deliver this first link, we will also make sure that the broader strategic planning is in place to identify routes for the broader network across the city. This year’s budget provides $1.4 million for that task—to investigate and identify the issues for consideration for a future Canberra-wide light rail network.

We will build on the strategic planning work that has been done to date. The rapid transit corridors are already identified in transport for Canberra and, indeed, in the territory plan. We will need to review their suitability for the light rail technology, take into account any particularities that arise and make sure that those are properly reflected in a master plan for our city.

This is a project not just for the north side, not just for Gungahlin. This is a project that starts a change for the city as a whole and from which everyone benefits ultimately in the long term through the expansion of the network. We know that, once you build a link, the networks grow. That has been the experience of cities right around the world. There is also a short and immediate-term benefit. If you are using Gungahlin Drive, if you are using Majura parkway, if you are using Commonwealth Avenue or if you are using Parkes Way to get to and from work every day, relieving congestion on Northbourne Avenue makes the whole of the road network work better. That is what capital metro will allow us to achieve. Those benefits for the broader city should not be discounted or ignored when we debate this very important project.

This project really does highlight the government’s long-term view as to how it wants to shift and change the shape and the manner in which our city grows and develops into the future. We want to create a more sustainable urban environment. We want to create a more liveable and accessible urban environment. We want to create an urban environment where more people of all income types, of all backgrounds, can live close to the city centre and live close to the level of services and amenity that it provides. This will be critical for our economic future, for our social future and for our environmental future. This important budget initiative delivers on those key tasks.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (11.24): This is a responsible budget that builds and transforms Canberra through a stronger, fairer economy, major infrastructure projects, taxation and structural reforms and delivers high-quality health and education services. I would particularly like to highlight the benefits of this budget, like my Ginninderra colleagues Ms Berry and Ms Porter did, to our constituents in Ginninderra in the areas of education, health and jobs.

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