Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2559 ..
Some 65 per cent of the 1,300 people that completed the survey said they will be using light rail. Members of this place know well the members of the GCC executive. Their analysis of these findings is that the results of the section on public transport combined with previous questions on how people get to work indicate that many more people are likely to use light rail than use the red rapid bus transport system. That is what the people of Gungahlin have been saying about their views on stage 1 of capital metro.
Indeed, this choice to bring light rail to our public transport network means significant growth in jobs, significant economic growth and opportunity along the corridor and significant opportunity to change our transport behaviours. We cannot keep building roads. As roads grow and as they are duplicated they inevitably fill up. There is a cost to building roads and maintaining roads. As Minister Gentleman has spoken about in this place, this government invests heavily in roads. But in the future we cannot continue to just build more roads. I note somewhat ironically that the cost of roads construction and maintenance in this city, which is necessary, does not receive the same level of critique from the opposition as a public transport network receives. But that is typical and probably to be expected from a Liberal Party.
It is also worth while to think about alternatives. I think we all agree in this place that congestion is a problem that we need to deal with. If we can agree on that premise, what is it that we do about our most congested route in the city? What is it we do particularly around the Northbourne Avenue corridor over the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years? This government put a commitment on the table at the 2012 election and was voted back into government at the 2012 election to deliver on its election platform. It committed to build light rail. The people of Canberra voted in 2012, and this Labor government is delivering on that commitment.
Certainly a debate that is about spending money and investing in the future versus a debate which provides no alternatives throws up a conversation in our community. What I am most looking forward to is an actual debate about the alternatives we need to address a problem that I think we can all agree on. People that travel the route from Gungahlin to Civic every day—whether they live in Bonner or Amaroo or Nicholls or Harrison or Downer or Watson or Lyneham—experience that daily commute every day. They understand that congestion is a problem; they understand something needs to happen. As we approach next year and the people again get to make a choice about which party presents a vision and a plan to deliver that vision for how we grow as a city and as a community, the real debate will start.
It is certainly reasonable for individuals in the community to ask: what is in this for me? What do I get out of this project? That is a question this side of the chamber is willing to answer. When we look at the Canberra Liberals’ counterparts on the hill, one of their main tactics, as the Chief Minister said in starting this debate, was opposition for opposition’s sake. It is coming home to roost for the federal Liberal Party in government that being involved in a community debate on opposition for opposition’s sake, instilling fear in people about what options are on the table for them, and saying no and opposing something is a vastly different undertaking than it is to propose an alternative solution that people can weigh up. I look forward to that