Page 3975 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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The problem is: how many people are going to be within walking distance of a tram stop? How many people are actually going to park in a park and ride? Is someone in Belconnen, perhaps someone in Dunlop, going to drive down Ginninderra Drive, turn left on William Slim Drive, go down to the Barton Highway, go to EPIC, park their car, walk to the station, pay $3 or $4, whatever it is going to be, to ride this tram, which is going to have five stops down Northbourne, similar to a bus, and is going to get held up at traffic lights, I presume, just like buses do, simply because it is there? Are people going to do this because it is there?

The fact is that, on the government’s own projections, only 4½ thousand people during the morning and afternoon peaks are going to use light rail. And of course we know that there are already in excess of 3,000 people that use buses down Northbourne during the morning and afternoon peaks. So it is a lot of money to spend for 1,500 people to ride light rail. If this is going to be transformational, this is going to be something that is going to change the city, the government has got to make a better case for it. And I can imagine Minister Rattenbury, there in the subcommittee meetings of cabinet or indeed in the cabinet meetings, or perhaps even his Greens party meetings, saying the government have got to do a better job. The government have got to do a better job at selling light rail because at present I do not think they are winning the case.

To sum up, the government’s city plan is simply a rehash of past ideas. The challenge is going to be whether they can and whether they do actually implement it. If it is yet another document that gathers dust on a bookshelf then it really will not mean much. And yet again it will be the government over-promising, under-delivering and eroding trust in this government.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (11.50): The government’s city plan is a vision, a vision of the maturing of Civic in our centenary year as the metropolitan centre of our city as it approaches a population of 400,000 people. It is about our government’s desire to see the big picture which we have seen this week and last week is in stark contrast to that which is presented by the opposition.

We just had Mr Coe criticising too many plans, but then he says, “There are not enough plans.” Then he says, “We need a city plan.” And then he criticises the city planning process. The man is confused. And then he gets into a gut-wrenching excitement about the fate of trees in Northbourne Avenue. I have never known Mr Coe to care much about trees before.

By 2030 our population is expected to be almost 460,000 people. The city plans will offer us options on the dilemmas involved in modelling Civic to be the administrative and commercial centre of our city and a showcase of the dynamic city we will be living in.

So much of the effort and focus in developing Canberra throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was on the satellite town centres and the new suburban areas of Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and later Gungahlin as part of the Y plan for the city’s growth. Our population was growing at over 10 per cent a year in the heyday of the transfer of government departments to Canberra and the consequent need to house a

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