Page 3052 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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I thought I would move those upfront so that I can discuss them at the same time as I address the content of Mr Coe’s motion. Mr Coe has raised a number of issues which I think are worthy of discussion and consideration. Roadworks are one of those things that a lot of people see and that a fair proportion of the travelling public has an interest in. Certainly since I have been the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services it is an issue that has been raised with me by the public, and it is an issue I have discussed at length with my directorate.

To get right to the crux of the matter, the issue is essentially a balance between disrupting the road network now by upgrading roads and preparing for the future growth in population and travel. This is particularly so given the rapid growth expected in areas like Molonglo and Gungahlin. I note that Mr Coe’s motion in paragraph (2) (a) calls on the government to develop transport infrastructure before existing infrastructure reaches capacity. The sentiment behind that is that the government should anticipate growth. That is essentially what is happening with upgrades such as the Cotter Road duplication.

A 2010 study on Canberra’s east-west corridor recommended major works to duplicate the Cotter Road between the Tuggeranong Parkway and Adelaide Avenue to cope with the predicted increase in traffic due to the development in Molonglo valley and north Canberra. You cannot really have limited roadworks and roadworks that are staggered consecutively over a long period and also proactively anticipate and account for all growth. The Cotter Road upgrades, for example, started in September last year and should be completed in September this year. It is not really feasible to delay all other works while we wait for these works to be completed.

I know that the local Liberal Party has a policy platform of delivering hundreds of millions of dollars of road duplications. These road duplications would take years to build and probably years more if no works were done concurrently.

Members, it is indulgent of me but I do note, in light of Mr Doszpot’s earlier comments about my brief absence from the chamber, that Mr Coe is no longer in the chamber, having moved his motion and then delivered his speech. I will proceed nonetheless.

The reality is that there will unfortunately be periods of roadworks that impact on the travelling public. I am confident that, in the future, Mr Coe and Canberrans driving through the east-west corridor, for example, will appreciate the road upgrades when they are completed.

These points are reflected in my amendment to Mr Coe’s motion. It notes that roadworks are an inconvenience to the public but that they are targeted to address specific issues, often years in advance. My amendment also retains Mr Coe’s original point that calls on the government to coordinate road works and temporary traffic management plans. I am happy to take that on board and continue these efforts as we have been doing.

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