Page 2385 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015
To conclude, I will not be supporting the motion today. As a member of the government I am committed to implementing the light project in a consultative and fair way and minimising disruptions as much as possible. In light of that, I will be supporting the amendment put forward by Mr Corbell, which sets out a number of the points I have spoken to today about things such as the EIS being a draft and it being a point of public consultation and the commitment from the Capital Metro Agency to working with stakeholders to deal with a range of the issues that are coming forward. Mr Corbell spoke to this today—things like the place manager program are very beneficial in enabling this sort of ongoing discussion to happen. Ongoing discussion will be needed; there will be things we need to work through. But the answer is in working through them and not taking an approach that simply says, “It’s too hard. We’re not even going to try.”
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (6.03): I thank Mr Coe for his motion on the capital metro project. I take this opportunity to talk about the draft environmental impact statement as well as the wider environmental benefits that will be achieved for Canberra through this transformative infrastructure project, a critical part of building an integrated transport network for our city. As Minister Corbell has already explained, the purpose of preparing an EIS is to identify and analyse the maximum potential impact a project will have on the environment, both physical and natural. This analysis also provides an opportunity to identify mitigation measures so that the impact can be minimised and in many cases avoided altogether.
The draft EIS for capital metro stage 1 is a comprehensive document. It covers a broad range of topics including biodiversity and heritage, noise and vibration, landscaping, traffic and transport, air quality and greenhouse gases, utilities and services and other construction related impacts.
The ACT government places high priority on communicating and engaging with the community. Release of the draft EIS for capital metro stage 1 has allowed the government to continue an open and transparent conversation on the planning and delivery of the light rail project. Involving the community in the discussion around what impacts occur as a result of light rail is integral to ensuring all impacts, mitigation measures and project benefits have been identified. Releasing the draft EIS is not intended to alarm people but to ensure they are fully informed. We want the community to be involved in the project and give them the opportunity to help identify the issues, the likely impact of those issues and the best way to mitigate them.
When we talk about the potential environmental impacts of constructing and operating the light rail it is important to remember what environmental benefits will be achieved through this project as well. Capital metro is an important project for the future of Canberra that will deliver a sustainable city with better transport, better use of land and better outcomes for community health and the environment.
What challenges need to be addressed to ensure we can remain one of the most livable cities in the world? Canberra is a growing city. In the past hundred years we have