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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 572


Senator ROBERT RAY (Minister for Defence) —I present the Government's response to the report of the Joint Committee on the National Capital on Gungahlin's transport links. I seek leave to incorporate the document in Hansard and move a motion in relation to the document.

  Leave granted.

  The document read as follows

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS

  The Parliament established the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory (now known as the Joint Committee on the National Capital) to inquire into and report on, inter alia, the National Capital Plan and amendments to the Plan. On 16 August 1991, acting under these terms of reference, the then Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Territories referred to the Committee proposals contained within the National Capital Plan for transport links to serve the future township of Gungahlin, in Canberra's north.

  The Committee has undertaken a lengthy and detailed review of these proposals, having held four days of public hearings and field inspections and received 63 separate submissions to the Inquiry from individuals, organisations, governments and government agencies with an interest in these proposals. Both the ACT Planning Authority and the National Capital Planning Authority were among the 18 individuals and organisations to give evidence before the Committee.

  On 30 May 1991, the Committee presented its Report to Parliament. The Report includes a comprehensive body of recommendations addressing planning, environmental and community concerns. As Minister for the Arts and Territories I am pleased that these recommendations in large part support the principles of planning and development put forward within the National Capital Plan.

  Where the Government has accepted the need for changes to the National Capital Plan, these will

now be considered within the framework of the statutory requirements of the Plan.

  The Committee's report has identified specific initiatives that can be pursued within the Australian Capital Territory to benefit local, and indeed global, environmental concerns. The Report has done so in a careful and balanced way, such that the transport needs of future Gungahlin residents will be met while protecting the amenity of existing residences located within Canberra's northern suburbs, and preserving key areas of native bushland so important to the National Capital.

  Many of the recommendations address matters that are primarily of concern to the Australian Capital Territory Government, and as a result I have forwarded a copy of this Response to that Government for consideration.

  A number of the recommendations, particularly those which consider issues of employment location in the Territory and policies for the future of public transport, have already been identified within the National Capital Plan and are currently being acted upon.

  It is my firm belief that the work of the Joint Committee on the National Capital, in respect of the National Capital Plan, is fundamentally important, as it provides a bridge between the Australian Capital Territory under self government and the Australian Capital Territory as the Nation's Capital.

RESPONSE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO THE REPORT Of THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY): `GUNGAHLIN'S TRANSPORT LINKS'

RECOMMENDATION

1. The Committee recommends that:

(a) bus services be introduced into Gungahlin as soon as the first neighbourhoods are occupied;

(b) intertown express services be introduced between Gungahlin and Belconnen, and Gungahlin and Civic as soon as demand exists;

(c) a conveniently located bus interchange be established in Gungahlin at the first opportunity; and

(d) a detailed strategy of measures to encourage the use of public transport and other non-car modes of transport, such as those described in paragraph 3.4, be developed and implemented as soon as Gungahlin's first neighbourhoods are occupied.

COMMENT

While these matters are the responsibility of the ACT Government, the extent to which non-car modes of transport including buses are utilised would be expected to have a significant effect on the scale of the need for the development of road links to Gungahlin.

RECOMMENDATION

2. The Committee recommends that:

(a) the NCPA and the ACT Planning Authority jointly commission or conduct a study into the establishment of a rapid transport system in the Australian Capital Territory.This study should consider the following matters:

(i) the most appropriate type of rapid transport technology;

(ii) the extent of such a transport system, for example whether it should link Gungahlin to Civic alone or be part of a wider network;

(iii) a timetable for the construction of such a system including the possible early establishment of the system in already settled areas of Canberra;

(iv) the construction and operational costs of such a system;

(v) the potential to attract private involvement in the establishment of such a system through `joint venture' or `value capture' arrangements; and

(vi) the impact of such a system on reducing the demand for additional road space from Gungahlin;

COMMENT

Supported. The NCPA and the ACT Planning Authority have jointly commissioned a group of consultants to conduct the Future Public Transport Options Study. Work has commenced to address these issues as well as the question of the wider public transport needs of Canberra in the future.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) to maximise the potential advantages of a new technology rapid transport system, including the possibility of reducing the need for additional road space to cater for the travel needs of the future residents of Gungahlin, this study should be completed and its findings released before the Commonwealth and Territory Governments commit themselves to the construction of any new roads to or from Gungahlin; and

COMMENT

Supported. The timing of road works necessary to meet the needs of Gungahlin is the joint responsibility of the Commonwealth and ACT Governments, firstly in completing the Future Public Transport Options Study. The ACT Government is then responsible for developing detailed road proposals and having these considered under environmental legislation. The NCPA is responsible for considering the implications for the National Capital Plan and, if necessary and appropriate, proposing amendments to the Plan before works proceed. Finally, the ACT Government is responsible for implementation of the proposals, whether they be for a new technology rapid transport system or arterial roads.

RECOMMENDATION

(c) in the interim a reservation be made between Civic and Gungahlin to allow for the construction of a rapid transport system. (Paragraph 3.25)

COMMENT

Supported. The Commonwealth Government considers that there should be a reservation for a rapid transport system covering the entire ACT.

Policies of the National Capital Plan are:

6.3(b) A corridor between Civic, the town centres and major employment nodes, suitable for priority or segregated right-of-way for use by public transport services will be reserved against a possible future need to develop a system of inter town and express routes suitable for buses or other technologies as appropriate.

6.3(c) Transport strategies should promote the convenience and efficiency of public transport use.

RECOMMENDATION

3. The Committee recommends that:

(a) the Commonwealth and Territory Governments jointly and separately (where appropriate) develop and implement the measures described in paragraph 4.4—such as limiting employment growth in Civic—to limit the number of vehicles travelling between Gungahlin and Civic or other southern destinations; and

(b) the Commonwealth Government's long term strategy for office location be amended to give priority to the development of additional office space in Gungahlin as well as in Tuggeranong and Belconnen. (Paragraph 4.8)

COMMENT

Supported. Policies of the National Capital Plan are:

3.3(b) Land use and development projects shall not result in increased Commonwealth office employment in Civic, except within the context of a program agreed by the Authority or unless the increases are minor and within Commonwealth Departments or agencies already located in Civic and it can be clearly demonstrated that such increases are in the interests of functional efficiency.

3.3(c) Any Commonwealth Department or agency seeking to place additional employment in Civic shall consult the Authority.

3.3(d) Commonwealth employment will be encouraged to locate in town centres (other than Civic, Parkes, Barton and Russell). The Authority will also assist any Commonwealth efforts to encourage the private sector to invest in such projects.

3.3(e) Only key Commonwealth policy departments, with Commonwealth Government approval, may be located on National Land in Parkes and Barton within the limitations imposed by local and overall transport and environmental considerations.

3.3(f) The Authority will assist Commonwealth agencies to consider non-central locations as possible alternatives where town centre locations are not feasible or appropriate.

RECOMMENDATION

4. The Committee recommends that:

William Slim Drive between the Barton Highway and Ginninderra Drive be upgraded (Paragraph 4.24)

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work would need to be considered.

RECOMMENDATION

5. The Committee recommends that:

(a) provision not be made in the National Capital Plan for a John Dedman East road; and

COMMENT

The government supports the current efforts to increase use of public transport and has made a contribution to the Future Public Transport Options for Canberra Study. The Government notes that the John Dedman East option cannot be built without amendment to the National Capital Plan. Future action will be assessed in the light of the outcomes of the Future Public Transport Options for Canberra Study.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) the Bruce Ridge—O'Connor Hills area be given legislative protection to preserve its ecological, recreational and educational values. (Paragraph 4.60)

COMMENT

This area is a Designated Area of the National Capital Plan and therefore has detailed conditions which apply to planning, design and development. As the land is Territory Land, only the ACT Government can give further legislative protection. More detailed recommendations will depend on the outcome of the current inquiry into Canberra's Open Space System being conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Capital.

RECOMMENDATION

6. The Committee recommends that:

(a) a detailed environmental impact assessment be made of the John Dedman Community Option and John Dedman West alignments, addressing such issues as:

(i) the potential impact of each alignment on the Bruce Ridge and O'Connor Hills, and

(ii) the potential impact of the Community Option alignment on the amenity of facilities at the AIS for residents and other users; and

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) in conjunction with the assessment, a broader study of the present and future parking and traffic management needs in the area of the AIS be conducted jointly by the ACT Planning Authority and the NCPA. (Paragraph 4.63)

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work.

RECOMMENDATION

7. The Committee recommends that:

(a) provision be made in the National Capital Plan for a Majura Parkway;

COMMENT

Supported.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) a detailed alignment study be conducted to minimise any impact on existing leases in the Majura Valley, for example by following the line of the existing Majura Lane;

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work.

RECOMMENDATION

(c) a detailed environmental impact assessment of the Parkway be made, addressing such issues as:

—the potential impact of the Parkway an animal movement corridors and how best to maintain those corridors; and

—the possible impact of increases in traffic levels on Northcott Drive and Fairbairn Avenue and the need to introduce or upgrade noise abatement measures; and

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposal for works.

RECOMMENDATION

(d) the ACT Government investigate the immediate introduction of noise abatement measures along Fairbairn Avenue.

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposal for works.

RECOMMENDATION

8. The Committee recommends that:

(a) Monash Drive not be constructed. However the road reservation should be retained in the National Capital Plan until it is clear that a severe disruption to the amenity of North Canberra can be avoided by the increased use of public transport and by the effective operation of the peripheral roads; and

COMMENT

Supported. The timing of road works necessary to meet the needs of Gungahlin is a joint responsibility of the Commonwealth and ACT Governments, firstly in completing the Future Public Transport Options Study. The ACT Government is then responsible for developing detailed road proposals and having these considered under environmental legislation. The NCPA is responsible for considering the implications for the National Capital Plan and, it necessary and appropriate, proposing amendments to the Plan before works proceed. Finally, the ACT Government is responsible for implementation of the proposals, whether they be for a new technology rapid transport system of arterial roads.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) the Mount Majura-Mount Ainslie area be given legislative protection to preserve its ecological, recreational and education values. (Paragraph 4.99)

COMMENT

This area is a Designated Area of the National Capital Plan and therefore has detailed conditions which apply to planning, design and development. As the land is Territory Land, only the ACT Government can give further legislative protection. More detailed recommendations will depend on the outcome of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Capital's Inquiry into Canberra's Open Space System. The location of a Majura Parkway would be subject to environmental impact assessment;

RECOMMENDATION

9. The Committee recommends that:

(a) the proposed extension to Ginninderra Drive not proceed but that, to minimise the level of through traffic in Lyneham and O'Connor, Mouat Street be widened and traffic management and calming techniques be introduced in the area:

COMMENT

Supported. The Commonwealth Government will seek an amendment to the National Capital Plan in accordance with the statutory process.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) the implementation of these measures not be deferred until the expected increase in traffic from Gungahlin occurs, but commence immediately so that the already high levels of through traffic are reduced; and

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work.

RECOMMENDATION

(c) the ACT Planning Authority conduct a comprehensive study of all North Canberra suburbs to identify particular streets that warrant the introduction of traffic management and calming techniques. (Paragraph 4.105)

COMMENT

This is an ACT Government responsibility. However, the Commonwealth Government would need to consider the implications for the National Capital Plan of any proposed work.

RECOMMENDATION

10. The Committee recommends that:

(a) the joint NCPA and ACT Planning Authority study of the area south of Mitchell and between the Federal and Barton Highways commence immediately; and

COMMENT

Supported. The National Capital Plan has identified the need for this study.

RECOMMENDATION

(b) the study assess the usefulness of a highway link road and determine a road alignment which would effectively link the two highways with the Majura Valley corridor so as to encourage commercial and other through traffic to divert to the peripheral arterial roads and by-pass North Canberra. (Paragraph 4.110)

COMMENT

Supported.


Senator ROBERT RAY —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the document.