Page 52 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 13 December 2016

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All Canberrans who travel along the stage 1 route can see the increased level of activity behind safety fencing and bollards. Our current focus is on the relocation of utilities, which must be done before we can begin the work to lay the track.

Safety is our number one priority, so some of these works will require temporary lane closures in order to maintain the safety of light rail workers and the public. I regret the incident involving a light rail construction worker last week and look forward to the recommendations from WorkSafe so that we can make sure we learn from this serious incident.

Traffic management plans are being developed to minimise disruption, and comprehensive stakeholder engagement is underway to keep the community informed.

As members will be aware, to build light rail we will have to remove and replace trees along the light rail corridor. That important work began this week. Around 1,000 new trees will be planted as a result of the light rail project. Replacement trees have already arrived at the Yarralumla Nursery and are being monitored by horticultural experts to manage their growth. They are quite a spectacular site. We expect they will be ready to start planting in the late spring or early summer of 2017.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what opportunities are available for local businesses and workers to participate in the construction phase of stage 1 of light rail?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary. This Labor government is delivering the biggest infrastructure project the territory has ever undertaken. After two election campaigns where light rail featured prominently we are getting on with the job that we were elected to do. Stage 1 of light rail is creating local jobs, with more than 250 people already employed in the project’s design, planning and construction activities. During the construction phase, it is estimated that Canberra’s light rail will generate over 3½ thousand direct and indirect jobs.

Canberra Metro brings to Canberra global expertise and opportunities for local employment and gives local industry a chance to connect with the global supply chain. The 20-year operations phase will bring opportunities for the people of Canberra in hospitality, technical and trades to learn from global industry leaders.

The light rail project team are collaborating with UNSW Canberra to create opportunities for students of the new civil engineering course and graduates over the longer term as part of the MOU signed between the territory and Department of Defence. It is estimated that the total footprint of around 50,000 jobs will remain long term along the corridor.

We are proud also to partner with the Canberra Business Chamber to spread the word on opportunities for local businesses and help build their capacity to become suppliers and subcontractors to the light rail project. On 24 August I launched 75 work packages in a local industry forum hosted by the Canberra Business Chamber light rail business link. This link is a specific support program for businesses along the corridor and across the territory that are affected by the project.

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