Page 1686 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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I believe this avenue has the potential to be the country’s premier address, already hosting over 40 per cent of the city’s larger hotels, many businesses and vibrant surrounding precincts. Through Labor’s plan for urban renewal and transformation along the corridor we can drive new opportunities for Canberra as a whole, such as employment opportunities and new investment.

While the Northbourne Avenue corridor is currently characterised by low densities and relatively slow rates of development, it has great potential to be an active urban boulevard. There is room for at least another 45,000 residents along the light rail corridor, with room for another 10,000 in the city. This highlights an existing opportunity for densification and urban renewal, helping to protect our green spaces and bush capital character.

We intend to use light rail to unlock the potential of the city centre and this important avenue, generating urban renewal and creating livable and accessible communities. Improvements in the transport network will expand economic productivity and growth, creating more jobs and increasing the diversity and sustainability of the local economy. Capital metro will provide a range of wider economic benefits for Canberra, including $1 billion of benefits to the community and up to 3,560 jobs during the construction phase alone.

But the Canberra Liberals would have you believe more buses are the answer to our city’s transport challenges. At least I think that is their plan—that and the Audis. While light rail will encourage urban transformation and revitalisation along the Northbourne Avenue corridor, more buses would only lead to more concrete and more congestion. On the other hand, light rail has the ability to transform and revitalise the corridor and provide business and investment certainty.

Threats made by the Canberra Liberals to tear up contracts associated with the light rail project put at risk the numerous benefits and opportunities that will be delivered through the capital metro project, such as a better public transport network; a much-needed boost to the local economy; decreased congestion and emissions, leading to improved environmental outcomes; jobs for local people; and jobs that will further stimulate our economy.

Following the announcement from the Victorian government to cancel the East West Link project and to pay the consortium $339 million, Prime Minister Tony Abbott publicly stated that it is the position of his government that all contracts should be honoured. The Prime Minister also described the East West cancellation as bad for Australia and terrible for Victoria. The Prime Minister’s federal Liberal government has also shown its support for the light rail project through their asset recycling initiative, and the ACT government was the first jurisdiction to sign up. The criterion for that initiative was clear: the incentive payments to states and territories had to be for productive infrastructure.

This initiative will see $60 million invested in stage 1 of the capital metro project, clearly identified by the federal Liberal government as productive infrastructure. Compare this with the Canberra Liberals’ plan to spend potentially up to hundreds of

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