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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2565 ..

Ultimately, this project lays the foundation for a city-wide network. Right now we are assessing options as to whether or not, as part of stage 1, we should connect the city terminus through to Russell, along London Circuit and down Constitution Avenue. What an enormously attractive option this will be if it can be realised—thousands and thousands of public servants isolated in Russell right now, where they cannot connect to the city centre easily and effectively even during their lunch hour. So let us look at the opportunity that comes from connecting them now.

People like the city traders are strongly supportive of this option. They understand the economic opportunity that comes from accessible, regular, frequent public transport connections between Russell and the city. They understand that long-term opportunity and they are backing it in. They want to see it happen. The government is very keen to see this option closely examined, and that is why we have asked for it to be part of the bids for stage 1.

Longer term, of course, there is the work being done by my colleague Mr Gentleman around the light rail master planning work, because we understand this is part of a broader story for our city, about a bigger picture of how our city can be connected up with a frequent, reliable, permanent public transport infrastructure network. That is fundamentally one of the most important elements of light rail, and certainly something that has made me realise the importance of this mode. It is the permanent right of way.

Buses can come and go; services can be turned on and off. Light rail stays. It is a permanent investment. And with that permanence comes confidence—confidence to build, confidence to invest along the line and confidence to use it and know that it will be there each and every day. It is something that buses cannot deliver; it has been proven that buses cannot deliver it. Ultimately, with that confidence comes growth—growth in patronage and growth in economic development along the corridor.

Finally, as a community we have to make some decisions about the future of our city and how we want it to grow and develop. Do we want to keep chopping down increasingly rare and endangered ecosystems on our city’s fringes for greenfields housing or do we instead want to consolidate growth around centres and along corridors that allows more people to live close to where they work, so that they spend less time travelling every day, so that they spend less on petrol, so that they spend less on buying cars for their household and so that they are able to enjoy greater freedom in terms of their time, their budget and their productivity?

Time with their family: people in Gungahlin understand this. They do not want to spend an hour or more every day going to and from work. They want to be able to get home quickly. They want to be able to get to work quickly. They want to be able to spend more time with their families in between. You achieve that by investing in great public transport. Everybody wins when more people use public transport, including the people who drive their cars.

Of course that is another factor that is ignored by those opposite. They say that only a small number of people will use light rail. Apart from that being factually wrong, the

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