Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2564 ..
I know that is pretty attractive for you to say to constituents, but it is false, because we are not talking about spending a billion dollars tomorrow. Indeed those opposite know that a public-private partnership is a payment over an extended term for construction and operation. It is not a billion dollars overnight. It is not a billion dollars that can be spent in the next term of government, because this government is not proposing, if it is re-elected, to spend a billion dollars over the next term of government. That is not the way a public-private partnership works. Those opposite know it, but they are out there in the community wilfully suggesting otherwise. They know it is not true.
Let us turn to why this project is so critically important. I have talked about congestion. I have talked about the challenges of congestion along that corridor. But what we have not heard from those opposite is how they are planning for growth. Again let us turn to the evidence of independent bodies like Infrastructure Australia.
Infrastructure Australia is projecting a population of over 600,000 people in the next 30 or 40 years, and how we need to plan for that future. Let us talk about where that growth is going to be happening, which is largely on the north side of our city. And let us say to anyone who wants to be in government in this place, “What are you doing to plan for that growth and how are you going to make sure that Canberra remains a livable, accessible and connected community?”
Is the answer simply to keep building more roads? Is that going to deliver the quality of life, the accessibility and the livability, and indeed the economic productivity, that our city is going to need into the future? We know the answer to that is no. Ask any Canberran about cities that rely wholly on the private road network to connect them up when they start getting large and what that means, and everyone says, “Just look at Sydney, and look at what happened in Sydney.” That is a very true answer from ordinary Canberrans.
Canberrans understand why it is important to invest in an alternative, in better public transport that gives people choice. It is not about saying, as those opposite do, that you cannot use your private motor vehicle. All the transport planning done by governments from both sides of this chamber has acknowledged that the private motor vehicle will remain the dominant mode.
The question is: how much of that dominance can be shaved, and have more people use public transport, walking and cycling? Instead of having over 90 per cent of all journeys to work, indeed all journeys in the city, by private motor vehicle, what if we were able to achieve 80 per cent? How much more effectively would our road network operate? How much would we save on reducing the need to augment existing road transport infrastructure? How much more would we see people using public transport, walking and cycling, with all of the health benefits, the connectivity benefits and the productivity benefits that come from that?
Those are the things that are quantified in the capital metro business case, and they are clear and unequivocal: over a billion dollars worth of economic benefits for our city; improved productivity, improved walkability and improved health outcomes. All of these things are tangible, meaningful and understood as being able to have an economic value based on international experience. And that is what we are bringing to this project and to this debate.