Page 4268 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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The Canberra Airport is also a supporter of light rail in this city. When he attended the public hearings of the Select Committee on Regional Development, Mr Snow made it clear that they saw the economic and societal benefits that such a network will have for Canberra, especially if they were included on the network.

There is a job for me and my colleagues to get out and advocate for this project. The benefits that this will have for Canberra are greater than any group of naysayers such as those opposite may throw at it. I know we will win this debate in the long term.

I wish to end on a slightly symbolic note, Madam Deputy Speaker. As I said earlier in my speech this morning, when people think of light rail, they think of it as a fundamental characteristic of a modern city. I think this too reflects much of what Mr Rattenbury is arguing in his speech today. Can we imagine great cities such as New York, London, Rome, Paris, Chicago or even Portland functioning properly without their rail networks, metros, tubes and tram systems? The answer is no.

As the great 20th century thinker Tony Judt wrote in his advocacy of social democracy Ill fares the land:

Railways remain the necessary and natural accompaniment to the emergence of civil society. They are a collective project for individual benefit. They cannot exist without common accord and, in recent times, common expenditure; by design they offer a practical benefit to individual and collective alike.

I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing the motion to the Assembly. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.28), in reply: I thank everybody for their comments on this very important motion. I will go to some of the comments that members contributed during the debate. I turn firstly to Mr Hanson, who acknowledged that many people like the idea of light rail. But he made reference to the bus rapid transit system and some conjecture there, because he feels that the bus rapid transit would be a better option. It is interesting that we have heard today the Liberal Party did oppose the bus rapid transport system. Of course, the survey on light rail said that 75 per cent of respondents indicated that they were more likely to catch the light rail service than the Red Rapid bus rapid transport system.

Mr Hanson gave us some figures on transportation numbers on Northbourne Avenue. He referenced those to our population. He said that our population was 360,000. Mr Hanson is 20,000 behind. That population figure was back in 2010, as I understand it. The Bureau of Statistics now indicates that we are just under 380,000. Indeed, Mr Corbell mentioned that our population will be near 400,000 in 10 to 15 years. Today’s Canberra Times indicated that we are going to have just under a million people by 2061. So it is very important that we plan for the future a sustainable rapid transit system.

Mr Corbell talked about better carrying capacity and better uplift in property values. Light rail has a great benefit-cost ratio and a good capacity to reinforce the

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