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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 12 February 2015) . . Page.. 323 ..

As I said during presentation, the amendments made by this bill will only apply to the delivery of the light rail system and associated infrastructure. Further, the associated infrastructure must be for the purpose of the light rail and must be within, or partly within, one kilometre of the proposed light rail track. For the sake of clarity, let me provide some examples of what associated infrastructure would include: light rail stops, shelters, ticketing equipment and bicycle storage; electricity supply infrastructure, including substations and overhead powerlines; and signalling and other control facilities.

I also note that clause 15 of the bill inserts a new definition into the dictionary of the act of the term “light rail”. This term is defined as a system of transport for public passengers using lightweight rail and rolling stock. Taken together, there are quite specific parameters on the scope of the bill.

The measures in this bill have been consciously developed with the future in mind. The location of the light rail is not a matter that is determined or restricted under this bill. The bill will apply to light rail and related infrastructure whenever and wherever it is constructed in the territory. The measures can be applied to all stages in the construction of the capital metro project. These include the first stage construction of the proposed light rail from Gungahlin to the city centre as well as any subsequent stages.

The measures in the bill will automatically apply to any extension of the light rail from the city centre to Weston Creek, Tuggeranong or any other destination. The proposed location and extent of the light rail is a matter for government decision and authorisation through the development approval system. The bill proposes changes to the development assessment process to expedite the construction of the capital metro light rail project. The bill proposes some limitations on third-party merit review by ACAT and appeals to the Supreme Court.

As I said during presentation, review processes through ACAT and the Supreme Court are important avenues for review and accountability. However, on occasion these procedures can lead to extended delay. We have heard from Minister Corbell today on how that can occur in a commercial sense. The process can lead to extended delay, uncertainty and costs for the proponent, the government and importantly, of course, for the wider community. A delay can amount to months or, in some cases, years. This uncertainty can be especially problematic for developments that are a high priority for government and the community when their implementation in a timely and certain manner is of the prime importance.

The review process can also mean uncertainty as to the final outcome of the development approval process. The bill proposes some proportionate limitations on these review processes to improve efficiency and administrative certainty for the capital metro project. Clauses 16 and 17 of the bill amend schedule 3 of the Planning and Development Regulation to provide that a development proposal that is related to light rail is exempt from third-party ACAT merit review. This applies to development proposals in the merit and impact assessment tracks.

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