Page 1712 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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Northbourne Avenue is a nationally significant boulevard that is often visitors’ first experience of Canberra. In addition to the ceremonial role as a key entrance to Canberra, it provides access from our fast-growing northern districts to the city and the parliamentary triangle, where many Canberrans work.

Northbourne Avenue is an important example of where planning is delivering transport investment and urban renewal. Planning policies that deliver more homes close to high quality public transport services have been successful over the past decade and are critical in delivering the government’s vision of a compact city.

The development of Northbourne Avenue and its surrounding corridor has protected the character of the inner north while focusing development opportunities on the corridor to take advantage of its high frequency transport services. Capital metro represents the next step in public transport investment for Canberra and will deliver urban renewal in north Canberra.

Urban renewal itself is about making where people live better. It is also about making the most of opportunities, such as those created through the construction of light rail and the integration of this high capacity mode of public transport with other forms of transport, like active transport, road systems and of course buses, to create an integrated transport system.

Lessons from around the world show that land use benefits are greatest when transport investments occur just before an upswing in growth. Forecasts and experience tell us that the Northbourne corridor is set for rapid growth over the coming decades. Building rail in advance of marked demand and in conjunction with land use planning can bring about positive economic rewards. This is what the government is doing by planning for the development of precincts along transport corridors.

The rejuvenation of transport corridors and provision of light rail will reinforce the identity of precincts such as Gungahlin town centre, Dickson centre and city centre. It will create more opportunities for social interaction, bring more passing trade for local businesses and improve the public realm that supports active travel. It will also build on the urban renewal already taking place in existing precincts such as Braddon.

We need to capitalise on the opportunities for urban renewal that government investment in an integrated transport network offers. We are already looking to our other major centres and transport corridors, whether it is between Gungahlin and the city or—closer to my home—between Tuggeranong, Woden and the city, through centre master plans and the light rail master plan to leverage our investments in those corridors to deliver the integrated transport outcomes that the territory needs.

All our major transport corridors in Canberra can progressively renew and deliver the transformational benefits we are shortly to see along the Northbourne corridor. The effort being put into the planning of our transport infrastructure now will pay large dividends for this city in the future.

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