Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1949 ..

To sum up, this government is committed to providing an integrated transport network for Canberra and is doing so effectively. The government is investing in active travel, public transport and our road network to get the best results from each section of the network.

Capital metro and the subsequent light rail investment that will happen in the future will provide an innovative and exceptional addition to public transport and an integrated transport network across Canberra. It is for this reason that I will be voting against this motion, which shows Mr Coe and the Canberra Liberals’ lack of vision for transport in this city.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (12.21): I always welcome the opportunity to talk about transport policy and the future of transport in our city.

I am pleased that the Canberra Liberals are showing an interest in what appears to be a more expansive transport policy than their traditional focus. The motion actually refers to cycling, buses and pedestrians, as well as the road infrastructure that has traditionally dominated their thinking. It proposes putting $50 million into buses. I will come back to that because that money is taken from other forms of public transport, namely light rail, but at least it is a recognition of the importance of public transport. As far as I can see, that is largely a first, particularly from Mr Coe. I will not labour the point by going into the vast catalogue of negative and dismissive arguments that the Liberal Party have made against public transport for all these years. Certainly, they are on the public record and I think they are well understood.

At that very basic level of recognising sustainable transport, this motion is a positive thing. Perhaps there is a begrudging acceptance after all these years that public transport needs a greater focus if Canberra is to be a successful and livable city in the future. Unfortunately, that is really the extent of my support for this motion, and I cannot and will not be supporting the actual detail today.

At its core, of course, is the request to cancel the light rail project. Here I have a fundamental disagreement, as I have stated in this place before, because I know that light rail will bring fantastic benefits to our city and our citizens. This cannot be denied; the benefits are clinically and conservatively documented in the capital metro business case.

Beyond this, though, light rail is a smart, strategic project for the future of our city. As Mr Gentleman noted, Professor Peter Newman made some excellent points about this in a comment piece in today’s Canberra Times. Professor Newman is a highly respected expert in planning and sustainability. He argues that light rail paves the way for the development of a knowledge economy city—exactly what Canberra needs, given our lack of industry and our opportunities in areas like research and technology. We are primed to be a knowledge economy city, and Professor Newman has spelled out exactly how light rail would contribute to that change in and expansion of Canberra.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video