Page 2618 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Wall for the question. The government has not yet made a submission to Infrastructure Australia in relation to the capital metro light rail project. The submission the government has made to Infrastructure Australia is about transport priority along the Northbourne Avenue corridor. The submission that the government has made, which I have made publicly available, is a submission that details options for either bus rapid transit or light rail along the corridor. That submission was made prior to the government going into caretaker mode last year and prior to the government’s election announcement on its decision, if re-elected, to proceed with the development of a light rail project.

As a consequence of that, the government is now proceeding with development of a revised business case to Infrastructure Australia outlining in further detail the benefits of light rail as the chosen mode, because to date there has been no submission to Infrastructure Australia asking them to endorse light rail as the preferred mode or endorse the benefits that flow from it. That will be developed and submitted to Infrastructure Australia in due course.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, what comparisons have been made regarding patronage levels of light rail versus bus rapid transit?

MR CORBELL: There have certainly been some very interesting comparisons made about patronage levels for light rail versus bus rapid transit. In fact, one of the best summaries I have seen is from Madam Speaker who, in a presentation to the state of Australian cities conference at Griffith University in 2005, said:

The claims in favour are strong. Rail friction is seven to eight times less than that of rubber-tyred vehicles. While a road lane can carry about 2,500 an hour and a busway about 5,000, light rail can carry between 7,000 and 10,000.

I think this really does highlight the importance of making a long-term strategic investment decision when it comes to light rail and anticipating future growth in patronage as a result.

Child care—after-school care

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The Prime Minister has announced an additional $450 million will be made available under the better schools program for additional before and after-school care and that it will be delivered through additional grants to some 500 schools across Australia. He also suggested it will allow schools flexibility in operating hours and delivery of new programs. I ask: have officers from the Education and Training Directorate been consulted by their federal counterparts either before or following the decision, and how many Canberra schools are likely to be in a position to be able to apply for and deliver additional out-of-school and holiday care as proposed?

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