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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1945 ..

More people will benefit from this flyover than will benefit from light rail. Far more people go through that intersection than are projected to go on light rail. Yet this government still does not prioritise it. Not only that, it would be at a fraction of the cost of light rail.

Everything comes back to light rail in the territory, because that is the government’s number one priority. With the money committed by the ACT government to fund light rail over the last two years we could have completed the duplication of Ashley Drive and Gundaroo Drive. We could be in a position to begin work on the Barton Highway flyover and to begin to look at other roads across Canberra which need duplication or safety improvements in order to reduce travel times for the majority of Canberrans who use their car.

Let us not forget that the government plan to signalise the roundabout at the Barton Highway, Gundaroo Drive and William Slim Drive intersection. Their own analysis, their own report, says this will lead to 316-second delays in 2021. People are going to be waiting on the Barton Highway for five minutes to get through that intersection as a result of what they are proposing here today. They are going to be spending a fortune to force people to wait 316 seconds to cross that intersection. If you times that by the thousands of people that are going through that intersection, the cost to our economy is absolutely enormous.

Of course we should be in the position to provide better investment in the public transport network as well, and that is why the Canberra Liberals firmly believe that we should be investing wisely in and better utilising the resources within ACTION. We firmly believe that we need to provide more direct and more frequent services from the suburbs to the Canberra town centres, the city, Russell and the parliamentary triangle. Bus infrastructure can and should be upgraded too. We will look at ways to improve the real-time system, as well as purchasing new buses and employing more drivers to help move Canberrans in an efficient way with a catchment that will include all of Canberra, not just the two or three per cent that are serviced by light rail.

ACTION was once a leader in public transport in Australia. It can and should be improved. Its problems should not be thrown in the too-hard basket while we blindly hope that light rail will increase public transport usage in Canberra. ACTION services the vast majority of Canberrans, not just the three per cent of Canberrans who will be lucky enough to live within walking distance of a light rail tram stop. We need to invest in a service that invests in all of Canberra and all of Canberrans, not just a few.

I call on the Assembly today to support the opposition’s reasonable approach to transport improvements and transport investment, which will serve all Canberrans.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (12.10): I welcome the opportunity to speak to the motion moved by Mr Coe and to highlight the ongoing investment this government has made in recent years in active travel, public transport and road infrastructure.

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