Page 2378 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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Worryingly as well for businesses is that there are no alternative sites proposed in the EIS. The Minister for Capital Metro has not offered a new location and has also recently said that consultations will need to take place with the winning consortium. However, given the minister’s absolute desire to begin this project before Canberrans can have their say at the next election, I do not expect him to stand up to the winning consortium and stop the closure of this car park.

This government is intent on committing Canberrans to light rail before next year’s election. The Canberra Liberals will of course do all we can to prevent this government from making yet another reckless decision regarding this $783 million project. We simply do not think it is sensible at this time to spend so much money on a project that will only serve one per cent of Canberra’s population in peak hour.

The government claims they have a mandate to go ahead with light rail, but they cannot claim a mandate to close down two car parks. Where was that in the $30 million policy which the Labor Party took to the last election? They cannot have a mandate to make it harder for people to visit their health or medical professionals, and they cannot have a mandate to hurt already struggling businesses that have been hit with rates, increased parking charges and now decreased availability of parking. In fact, one submission sums up what many feel about this government’s plans. It reads:

I hope this is not a fait accompli. Rather, I urge the ACT Government to look at alternatives so that the negative impacts on members of the public and on local businesses which would result from the current proposals are not implemented.

On this issue the community has clearly spoken. I ask the government to not close down this car park. I urge members to support this motion, and I ask the government to show some leadership and some respect for the community and to not go ahead with this proposal.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (5.43): I take the opportunity this evening to talk about the purpose of preparing the environmental impact statement for the capital metro project and to reiterate the government’s commitment to engaging with the community. The government is committed to being open and transparent and to engage with the community about the light rail project at every opportunity. In line with this commitment, the Capital Metro Agency has already facilitated a number of formal consultation programs, including seeking feedback on the early designs for capital metro stage 1 in the middle of last year, followed by consultation in January-February this year on the urban design concepts.

The CMA has also participated in and will continue to participate in numerous community events, such as the Celebrate Gungahlin festival and the successful community program, party at the shops, which is rolled out to local shopping centres right across Canberra. Participation in these types of consultation activities has been high with a large number of people in our community keen to learn more about the project and get involved. The early design and urban design consultation programs collectively resulted in over 29,000 interactions with the local community and key stakeholders.

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