Page 482 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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off the road by providing a genuine alternative to driving, generating jobs, attracting investment and revitalising the main gateway to the nation’s capital city. The project will change how we use public transport, which is essential given that there will be almost half a million people living in Canberra by 2031.

As part of a fully integrated public transport system, customers will have one ticket, one fare and be able to transfer between light rail and buses, as well as a growing cycling and walking network. Canberra has voted twice for light rail, for a city-wide light rail network that we will deliver, that only a Labor government will deliver.

Construction is already underway and progressing well. Last Tuesday the Chief Minister and I had the pleasure of inspecting the rail that has been delivered to two sites along the route, at the EPIC and Gungahlin town centre compounds. About 52 kilometres of track is required for the project, and we expect to start installing that at the depot in Mitchell in around June this year.

This year will be a very big year for construction of the light rail project. We will see significant progress, with completion of utility relocation and protection works, commencement of major civil construction activity, including the laying of concrete track form, bridgeworks on Flemington road, tree planting and landscaping, and roadworks down the corridor. Work at the light rail depot will reach an important milestone later this year, with the expected arrival of the first light rail vehicles. Landscaping works are also planned to commence across the project during late spring and early summer. We would like to thank all residents and road users for their patience while these works continue.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what steps are being taken to ensure early planning for stage 2 of light rail is undertaken?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary question. As has been noted, we have hit the ground running during the first 100 days of the Barr Labor government. As well as continuing to deliver on stage 1 of the light rail network, we are delivering on what we were elected to do by starting work on stage 2 of the city-defining light rail network.

We have begun preliminary project definition work for stage 2 of light rail from Civic to Woden, which will see a contract signed in this term of government for construction. Stage 2 will deliver in conjunction with stage 1 a 23-kilometre north-south spine of light rail as the start of the city-wide network. This is a significant city-shaping project that delivers economic, social, transport and environmental benefits for our city. It is absolutely clear that light rail is part of our city’s future.

Last week in the budget review the Treasurer announced a $7 million investment in the next stage of Canberra’s light rail network. This funding will kickstart the design work associated with stage 2. Following the community’s clear endorsement of our plan to deliver a city-wide light rail network tenders opened on 25 November to get stage 2 planning underway. These tenders closed on 30 January and we received a strong response from the market. We expect to have all the technical and professional advisers on board in March.

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