Page 4258 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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I think that does underline the fact that there will be potential for another link, probably quite soon, to Belconnen. The airport is very keen. This is certainly one of the lessons from Portland.

What they saw in Portland was that the key part of the success there was due to significant private sector involvement in leveraging additional parts to the network. Rather than waiting for government to simply be able to afford it, the private sector in Portland recognised the significant benefits and contributed real money to make those extensions of the network happen.

In the area I spoke of earlier, where the retirement village was, there was also a key connection to the major hospital and medical research institution in Portland. And because of the value of that light rail network to the hospital and medical research institution, the institution actually contributed at least half of the cost of that light rail extension because they saw the benefits for themselves and they knew that light rail would deliver for their institution.

That may well be something we can see in the future in Canberra particularly where, for example, the airport is suggesting they would like to see it. It may be the government can partner with the private sector to make it happen faster than if the government simply has to finance it itself. So I think that there is a lot of opportunity. I think the fact that we are seeing the private sector in the ACT and from outside the ACT embracing this project underlines the fact that this will be a benefit for our community as a whole.

I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing this motion forward today. I look forward to further discussion in the chamber as this project progresses. There will be significant discussion with the community. It is vitally important that the community is engaged in this project. I think there is a lot of knowledge and ideas in the community about how to get this project right, and that is where having some of these community outreach positions or, as some cynically phrase them, PR positions is incredibly important because we need the community engaged in this project and contributing their ideas. I commend Mr Gentleman’s motion to the Assembly.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.55): In this year’s budget the government set out our 2013-14 agenda under four key areas: urban renewal, liveability and opportunity, growing the economy, and healthy and smart. These priorities have provided an overarching framework for the government as we have funded election commitments and continued to invest in better services for Canberra. Capital metro is a commitment which goes to all four of these areas.

A growing city needs a plan for urban renewal. The population of the ACT is expected to increase by 80,000 people over the next 15 to 20 years. We expect that the city centre will accommodate 10 per cent of that population growth, around an additional 8,000 people. We also know that growth on the city to Gungahlin corridor has averaged increases of 6.8 per cent in recent years, more than five times the ACT average. It makes perfect sense, therefore, for the first stage of light rail to be built through this corridor. It will rejuvenate Northbourne Avenue, attract new investment

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