Page 2329 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Hinder for his question. On 21 July Minister Fitzharris, as minister for Transport Canberra, and I, in my role as Minister for Planning and Land Management, announced the findings from the consultation on the light rail network plan, together with recent consultation findings on the community’s views on our current bus transit system, titled Canberra moving: what you have you told us. I hold specific responsibility for the light rail network consultation which plans the future potential light rail corridors.

The consultation was a great success and has been seen as the next step in the planning, construction and delivery of a fully integrated transport system for all Canberrans. The consultation took in all parts of Canberra, with almost 900 people involved in the consultation both online and through face-to-face meetings in late 2015. It was clear from the consultation that the community is excited about the future planning of light rail and is aware of the many benefits that such a project can bring.

As part of building an integrated transport network, the report was released jointly with a report discussing people’s views on our current public bus transit system. These two consultations, with more than 5,000 responses, have been important in informing the government on the community’s view on how light rail and our existing bus services can work together to ensure the best outcomes for residents. It outlines how people will be able to use multi modes of transport to effectively and efficiently make their daily commutes.

From the consultation, the Planning and Environment Directorate has now been able to fully collate consultation and expert knowledge within the ACT government, leading to the creation of four priority routes for the next stage of the capital metro project, linking the existing stage 1 route with the airport, Belconnen, the parliamentary zone and Woden. All four of these routes have significant positives, with future development, better connections and more active and livable precincts being just a few of the potential benefits for the community.

Studies have indicated that more than 400,000 people will be living in Canberra by the end of this year. Population is set to increase by a third by 2035, to approximately half a million people, with 600,000 in the greater ACT area. So it is important that we as the ACT government plan now for that future growth, which is why we are looking at our light rail network and where it can go next while ensuring that the whole community can experience its benefits in planning a better city. The ACT government is currently undertaking a more detailed analysis of all four preferred routes before making an announcement later this year on the next steps in developing a city-wide light rail network.

I look forward to continuing to update the Assembly on the positive steps being taken within planning to provide a fully integrated transport network with appropriate development and facility linked by the network.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hinder.

MR HINDER: Minister, how will the consultation be used to inform further decisions on delivering the light rail project to Canberrans?

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