Page 4096 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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First and foremost, of course, is the importance of ensuring that the road network, which will continue to perform a critical role in the overall transport task for the city, is able to operate more effectively and efficiently. Reducing congestion by having more people use public transport means that the road network operates better. This is a point that is often missed in the debate. Achieving a modal split of, say, 80 per cent of journeys to work by private motor vehicle rather than 90 per cent would have an enormous benefit across the system as a whole. It would improve the overall effectiveness of it and also defer the need for significant augmentation to a later time, in terms of infrastructure development.

Mr Gentleman outlined in his amendment the importance of the establishment of transport Canberra. Canberrans have told the government that we need to get more focused on the delivery of the transport task and that we need to coordinate the delivery of the multiple modes to make sure that they are flexible, that they are responsive and that they are integrated to deliver the best possible transport choices for Canberrans. The establishment of transport Canberra allows the government to do that. It is consistent with the approach, of course, adopted by many other city and state jurisdictions, and one which is critically important for the future management of transport in the ACT.

Of course, the arrival of light rail infrastructure is consistent with the broader planning strategy and transport strategy for the city, which is recognising the desirability of fast, frequent, reliable and permanent right of way for public transport along our main transport corridors.

Gungahlin to the city is one of the key congested corridors in the city. The Infrastructure Australia audits confirmed that, and there is a need to respond to the challenges faced by congestion along this key corridor, as it is to look at the other areas where congestion is going to be significant in the short to medium term. That includes corridors like the city through to the airport, and the parliamentary triangle, out along Canberra Avenue. These are all significant areas for congestion growth, if we continue as business as usual. The government is committed to not continuing as business as usual. We need to think about better ways of delivering transport for our city.

Mr Gentleman’s amendment makes the very important observation that the delivery of light rail infrastructure means that there is more capacity within the existing ACTION fleet, and the existing ACTION network, to reallocate bus kilometres to other parts of the city, in terms of service delivery. We know that the experience of light rail in other jurisdictions backs this up. Growth in light rail patronage also leads to growth in bus patronage. That has been the experience of jurisdictions and cities like the Gold Coast. So identifying that there will be a significant freeing up––indeed up to a million kilometres of service delivery each and every year—as a result of the delivery of capital metro means that there will be more buses and more services more often, that can be allocated to other areas of growth and demand across the city as a whole.

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