Page 3629 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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It is essential that we tackle the resulting economic, social and environmental challenges by investing in leading infrastructure through building an integrated transport network. The burden of growing congestion due to rising car use will be detrimental to our quality of life if nothing is done.

Infrastructure Australia has noted these future challenges and found that without additional investment the cost of road congestion in the ACT will increase from $208 million per annum in 2011 to $703 million per annum in 2031. The economic, social and environmental impacts of increasing travel times will have wide-ranging impacts on our city if we do not do something about it now.

The government’s vision is for a prosperous, connected, sustainable and livable city. Light rail has the greatest potential to deliver these benefits across the city as we know from the experiences of cities across the world. Here in Canberra light rail will, of course, deliver for the territory and revitalise our urban centres and support our active lifestyles. It will stimulate suburban renewal, increase economic activity, reduce our high level of car dependency and provide efficient, environmentally responsible public transport.

This government has a history of integrated transport and land use planning which the light rail network is continuing to build on. Previous work with transport of Canberra, which identified rapid public transport corridors, and the ACT planning strategy, which identified centres and corridors for renewal, has been used as the foundation for this work.

The light rail network plan has progressed previous planning by specifically considering where and how light rail can be extended across Canberra. It has also explored the significant drivers and opportunities that derive from the delivery of light rail on particular corridors and across Canberra.

Governments all over Australia are dealing with significant challenges brought about by a lack of timely investment in public transport infrastructure. Canberra’s light rail network will be delivered as leading infrastructure. We will invest in corridors where we know there is a future need. We will also use light rail as demand—driving infrastructure to help shape the way the city grows by planning higher growth along light rail corridors and coordinating our planning and projects to support development in each corridor.

The boost to investment that light rail will provide is already becoming evident. I was pleased to hear on the radio the other day that the mezzo apartments to be built in Gungahlin are being tailored as having the light rail project right at their doorstep in their sales pitch as well.

The light rail network plan identifies Canberra’s future light rail corridors where light rail will be delivered over time, including the first stage between Gungahlin and the city, the parliamentary triangle, Woden to the city, Tuggeranong to Woden, the city to eastern connections, including Canberra airport and Fyshwick, Kippax and Belconnen to the city, and Molonglo to the city—for Mr Hanson. The plan provides an overview

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