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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 697 ..

As I said to the Mitchell Traders Association representatives last week when I met with them to receive the petition, I really do thank them for their advocacy and working with the government in our efforts to make this light rail stop a reality. It is a shame we did not have this petition back in 2014 when the stop locations were finalised. Having said that, I can confirm that we are committed to establishing a stop at Sandford Street in Mitchell. It is a question of when, and I have given my undertaking that I will seek the earliest opportunity to operationalise that stop.

While it has been commented that it seems an easy thing to do now, the structure of the light rail contract means that it is not that straightforward, which is why the government planned and consulted extensively before finalising stop locations in 2014 and the finalisation of the contract. Revising the contract now to build a new light rail stop would impact on delivery of the project and incur significant additional costs. While it is and will remain something that we will keep front of mind, we will take a responsible approach to this matter, as Canberrans would expect us to do.

I recognise that businesses in Mitchell and their customers want certainty as to when the stop will be built. I want them to know that we will keep them updated and informed on this process so that there is no confusion about when it may happen. And, while I cannot give this certainty today, I want to assure them that we will work through the details and look for the earliest opportunity.

The formation of the Mitchell Traders Association has enabled the government to work closely with Mitchell businesses to address strategic business issues in the area and capitalise on opportunities so that we can work together to strengthen the Mitchell trading precinct. I thank them very much for this.

The ACT government will continue to work with Mitchell businesses on issues related to light rail, city services and public transport and to other issues they may seek to raise with us. Canberra Metro is also in contact with Mitchell businesses, and the Canberra Business Chamber has offered ongoing support through the light rail business link program for any additional practical measures during the construction phase.

Thanks again to the Mitchell Traders Association, particularly their president, Anthony Manning, and their secretary, Julian Kusa, for the opportunity to table this petition today. I look forward to future discussions with them and their members on the future of light rail through their growing precinct.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Wall) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted to Mrs Dunne for this sitting week to attend a CPA Executive Committee meeting.

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