Federal Election 2019 – ACT Candidate positions on Transport, Planning and Infrastructure policy

 

Candidate forum Smiths April 2019.jpg
Federal election candidates at a public forum in April 2019

The Federal election will be held on May 18 2019. Canberra is the Nations capital and seat of Federal Government, as well as a growing regional city with a diverse community. Our city has been overlooked at federal elections in recent years, by both major parties, and deserves an equal share of infrastructure investment to assist the city to expand in a sustainable and planned way.

The PTCBR will send an email to all candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate, running in the ACT at the 2019 election, seeking their views on transport planning and infrastructure, and asking if they will work to obtain funding to put towards light rail and other public transport programs. Any candidate that responds will have their answers placed here, and promoted on our Facebook group, and shared among our members. The PTCBR is an apolitical organisation, but all PTCBR members are entitled to vote based on the issues that matter to them, and after making an informed decision.

The ACT elects one lower house member from the seats of Bean, Canberra and Fenner, and two Senators.

Questions to Candidates

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
  2. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
  3. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
  4. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?
  5. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
  6. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
  7. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?

Responses received from candidates will be published on this page in the order they are received, below the list of candidates. Irrelevant responses unrelated to our members policy interests, will not be posted.

House of Representatives Candidates in the ACT

Bean – Weston Creek, Tuggeranong

  • David Smith – Australian Labor Party
  • Therese Faulkner – Australian Progressives
  • Ben Rushton – Great Australia Party
  • Jonathan Davis – Greens
  • Matt Donnelly – Liberal Democrats
  • Ed Cocks – Liberal Party
  • Tony Hanley – United Australia Party
  • Jamie Christie – Independent

Canberra –  Woden, East Belco, N. & S. Canberra

Fenner –  Western & Northern Belco and Gungahlin

ACT Senate Candidates 

Election Announcements on public transport, planning and public transport infrastructure for Canberra

ALP – Alicia Payne and Bill Shorten announce 200 million dollars for Canberras second stage of light rail.

Responses received from Candidates (presented in the order they were received)

First response (28 April)

Robert KnightAustralian Progressives

(Disclosure, Robert was formerly the Deputy Chair of the PTCBR)

G’day Damien and the PTCBR committee,
It’s a great pleasure to be able to respond to a topic I’m so passionate about. In response to your questions:
1. Unequivocally, yes. I believe the light rail is an incredibly important piece of infrastructure for Canberra’s future development. If elected, I would continue my fierce advocacy for a comprehensive light rail system creating the backbone of an integrated active and public transport network.
2. The National Capital Authority has a critical role in upholding the importance and management of nationally significant land, and institutions. I would seek to ensure the NCA is adequately resourced, and it’s mission refined to work more intimately with the ACT government on a coherent planning strategy.
3. Transport connections between regional NSW and the ACT is riven with legal and technical issues which create constant roadblocks to coherent public transport solutions. If elected I would seeks to identify each of these issues and find workable solutions to allow for the extension of existing bus services and, ultimately, rail services including light rail.
4. The way I see it, the major impacts on the ACT from nearby population increases in NSW consist of those on our transport infrastructure, health system, and education system from the users of those who are not ACT ratepayers. For that reason I would work to ensure federal funding is aimed at appreciating Canberra as a regional hub. From an environmental perspective, I think it is critical that Canberra and the surrounding local government areas work together to create a coherent and coordinated regional strategic plan dealing with urban planning, municipal services, environmental protection, and infrastructure provision.
5. Yes. Linked with my response to questions 3 and 4, I think it’s important that Canberra and surrounding local government areas work together to treat the area as a coherent functioning region. The border doesn’t act as a barrier to individuals living their lives in both NSW and the ACT, so our governance arrangements should behave the same way.
6. Yes. As part of a coherent regional strategy, a more comprehensive set of transport infrastructure is important in reducing the impacts of congestion, and non-sustainable transport choices.
7. The Australian Progressives believe our national transport focus should shift towards more sustainable choices. This translates into a focus on electrically powered, rail based public transport, both in an urban setting as well as inter-city. We also believe in a closer focus on active based transport development, closely integrated with well funded, rapid, and frequent public transport options in our towns and cities.
Thanks again for this opportunity, and I hope the members of PTCBR enjoy my response. Let them know I’m available for any questions via email at: canberra@progressives.org.au

Second response  (29 Apr)

Therese Faulkner – Australian Progressives

Hi Damien – lovely to hear from you, and thanks for your questions.  Please see my responses below, which accord with Australian Progressives policies:

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?  Absolutely yes.  There may also be a case for investment in heavy rail for Tuggeranong and beyond down the track (pardon the pun).  This would be worth a feasibility study once we get past stage two of the light rail.
  2. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?  I would like to see a review of the nexus between the NCA and ACT Government, with a view to having these two entities appropriately defined and resourced to be able to work collaboratively on planning and development within the parliamentary triangle and its fringes.
  3. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?  The Australian Progressives support a national passenger rail network, including connections between Canberra, other major cities, and eventually regional NSW cities and towns. Noting that this is a long-term vision, in the shorter term I would look to establish a consultative forum comprising representatives from local, state and federal governments and bureaucracies, with a view to working together to establish better public transport linkages within this region – starting with improved bus services and then extending to rail.
  4. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?   The Australian Progressives would work to ensure Canberra is considered as a regional hub from federal and state government perspectives, and lobby hard to ensure funding appropriate to such an important regional centre is provided by the federal and NSW state governments.  We believe that the ACT Government and the surrounding local NSW municipalities must work together to develop and implement a strategic plan to ensure that urban planning, municipal services, environmental protection, and infrastructure provision meets the needs of this wider community.
  5. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?  Yes – this is consistent with the position that Canberra is an important regional hub within south-eastern NSW, and a centre for jobs and services which therefore requires good public transport links.  The extension of light rail into Queanbeyan would be a logical first step in providing such links.
  6. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?  Yes – again, this is consistent with the positions set out in response to previous questions.  The provision of dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities can be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to improve public transport services within this region.
  7. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?  The Australian Progressives believe our national transport focus should shift towards more sustainable choices.  We would like to see well-funded, rapid, and frequent public transport options in our towns and cities, and an increase in electrically powered, rail-based public transport, both in urban settings as well as inter-city.

Kind regards

Therese

Therese Faulkner

Australian Progressives Candidate for Bean

www.facebook.com/therese4bean

Third response (3rd May)  Andrew Leigh – ALP

 

Dear Damien

Thanks for the email and thanks for all your hard work at PTCBR. This sounds like a fantastic initiative and I am more than happy to help. I have answered your questions below, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help with anything else. I look forward to seeing the results!

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
  2. Labor has committed $200 million to the second stage of Canberra’s light rail project. This will play a critical role in significantly reducing traffic congestion for residents of the City’s south. It will create hundreds of jobs and ensure that people are able to move swiftly through the city. We are committed to ensuring Canberrans have access to fast, reliable and affordable public transport and look forward to working with the ACT government as it continues to roll-out this fantastic initiative.
  3. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
  4. Labor greatly values the role of the NCA. The NCA will continue to play that important role in the development of the Nation’s Capital under a Shorten Labor Government.
  5. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
  6. Labor has committed to improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion by investing almost $250 million to progress the full duplication of the Barton Highway between Murrumbateman and the NSW/ACT border. The Barton Highway is used by 12,500 vehicles a day, including about 1,000 trucks. This commitment means Federal Labor stands ready to invest $100 million more in this important project than would be delivered by a re-elected Morrison Government. Increasing traffic volumes have led to increasing levels of traffic accidents on the highway, so a Shorten Labor Government would work with the New South Wales Government to expedite the duplication in the interests of road safety. The project would also boost productivity by facilitating quicker movement of road freight around the region. A longer list of Labor’s ACT/NSW infrastructure projects is below.
  7. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?
  8. The ACT government is doing an excellent job investing in infrastructure in the ACT. A Shorten Labor Government will continue to support the ACT in this critical area, such as through our investments in light rail and roads. The fact that so many people want to live in or around the ACT shows that we are clearly on the right track!
  9. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
  10. The ACT Government has a fantastic plan for its roll-out of light rail in the ACT. A Federal Labor Government will invest $200 million in stage two and looks forward to working collaboratively with the ACT Government as it implements the future stages of its plan.
  11. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
  12. A Shorten Labor Government will establish a $300 million National Park and Ride Fund for new or expanded car parks at public transport hubs, such as train stations. Labor backs public transport – it’s good for commuters and it eases congestion on our roads. But too many residents in our cities and major regional areas are frustrated at the lack of available parking at train and bus stations as they travel into the city for work. I’ll be making sure the ACT gets its fair share of this funding to make commuting easier and ease congestion on our roads.
  13. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?
  14. We have many! We will build on the record of the previous Labor government which doubled road funding across Australia; rebuilt a third of the interstate rail freight network; and committed to more urban public transport infrastructure than every previous Federal Government combined. We will create thousands of jobs nationally with new work in every state and territory.
  15. Labor’s major infrastructure projects for the ACT and New South Wales include:
  16.          Canberra Light Rail Stage Two: Labor will reduce traffic congestion for residents of the City’s south with a $200 million investment towards the Stage II construction of Canberra’s Light Rail project.
  17.       Dunns Creek Road (NSW/ACT): Labor will invest $67.5 million to build the Dunns Creek Road, a key piece of regional infrastructure for residents of Queanbeyan, Googong and Jerrabomberra.

iii.      Nowra Bridge: Labor has committed $155 million towards building a second bridge in Nowra to improve road safety and boost local productivity.

  1.       Western Sydney Airport Rail: Labor will commit a total of $3 billion to Western Sydney Rail connecting the Sydney rail network with the new Western Sydney Airport, whilst reducing congestion and dependence on cars. Link
  2.       Sydney Metro West: Labor will commit $3 billion to Sydney Metro West, which will double the rail capacity between Parramatta and the CBD. Link
  3.       Central Coast Roads Rescue Package: Labor will fast-track $60 million worth of road works planned for the New South Wales Central Coast to ease traffic congestion and improve road safety.

vii.      Singleton Bypass: Labor will contribute $250 million towards construction of the Singleton Bypass on the New England Highway.

  1. Labor will implement a comprehensive plan for housing affordability and housing supply.
  2.          Across Australia, Labor will build 250,000 new affordable rental homes over the next decade in partnership with the community housing sector for Australians on low and moderate incomes. We will also ensure that 1 in 10 employees engaged in building new housing stock under our scheme are apprentices.
  3.       Labor will reform negative gearing so that deductions can only be claimed on newly built homes, which will increase new housing supply and support jobs. We will reform the capital gains tax concession and allow existing investors to maintain their current CGT and negative gearing entitlements. There will be no retrospective taxation or impost on existing investors.

iii.      Labor will create a viable Build to Rent sector in Australia – giving institutional investors better tax concessions; encouraging more construction; and stimulating the housing market. We will do this by cutting the managed investment trust withholding rate in half from 30 per cent to 15 per cent to encourage new housing supply.

  1.       Labor will establish a new and independent COAG Economic Reform Council that will be given the autonomy to examine, track and report to COAG on long-term reform priorities, including on housing affordability and supply.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Andrew Leigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andrew Leigh

Federal Member for Fenner

Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity

Shadow Minister for Trade in Services

Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits

 

Response number 4 – (9 may 2019) Tony Hanley – UAP candidate for Bean

Hi Damien,

I would like to see the NATIONAL APPROACH ROUTES – CANBERRA AV. BARTON HIGHWAY – As Walter Burley Griffin, envisioned it to be a grand gateway. This is a Federal Issue.

The light rail went to the wrong Town Centre, as it has no major white collar; Employment base. But we need to move on now, long term I do not believe it will be utilised. Will see in Winter, “I guess! but I always applaud leaders that actually do things. More pertinent – Northbourne Av. Now looks like the dogs breakfast. Lime stone Ave. and others are gridlocked. Policy on the run, is always bad. I think it’s just matter of time before will have flashing Boom gates, and some major car Rail crashes (I drive daily for my work – and too many people don sunglasses and have tinted windows) just for one of many examples. Panel beaters have a roaring trade here. There are new innovations on low cost over passes. That allow Kangaroos, wild life to pass over as against them being culled. There is No more culling required as kangaroos dictate on multi plying, depending on climate conditions. I have an expert with ten thousand signatures to submit to Parliament.

The next stage of light rail has to be to Tuggeranong (not Woden) which is connectivity ideas I have from a main exchange shooting off to both Weston Creek -Coombes and Woden.  I grew up in Weston Creek and it’s easy to walk cycle plus new innovations adopted), under tunnels, using the latest in transport.  We need to stall all things at the moment, as just around the corner are better options being invented now. The local ACT Gov. has created a two class, society here and are treasonous to the “Spirit, essence and very Foundation of why Canberra was conceived. Barr (Libs V ALP) “biting the hand that feeds it” has eroded away Public Servants Department away to Regional areas.  If ALP’s Negative gearing policy comes in, the ACT Housing market “will crash like a lead balloon”. It is not sustainable.

The ACT road designers have endangered cyclists lives, (Adelaide Av. For one) and turned us into a UK – Cotswold village and is just hopeless in all respects.

Plus, I would like to see (after 9pm) most Traffic lights to go to flashing amber mode and normal road rules applied.

I would foster APS swap job plans (car-pooling etc.) in the APS – to minimise car use at peak times to stop the gridlock at peak hours.

Tony Hanley “the NUMBER ONE AUSTRALIAN “by a Country Mile.

Response number 5 – (13 May 2019) ACT Greens

Dear Damien

Thank you for your emails to our Greens candidates with questions about our policy positions. I attach a detailed response on behalf of:
Tim Hollo
Penny Kyburz
Emma Davidson
Andrew Braddock
Johnathan Davis
We would appreciate it if this response could be posted with attribution to our candidates. Their Facebook pages are:
Kind regards
Adele Doust
Party Director
ACT Greens 

ACT Greens position on transport and planning issues for the Public Transport Association Canberra
13 May 2019
If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
Yes.
Light rail not only provides an excellent public transport option, it also attracts development to transport corridors, helping Canberra grow in a smart and sustainable way.
The ACT Greens have advocated for light rail for decades. As balance of power holders following the 2012 election, we were at last able to secure a Government commitment to building stage one of light rail for Canberra.
The Greens advocated for stage 2 of light rail at the 2016 election, and secured its planning and development through a parliamentary agreement with the Labor Party.
A key part of the ACT Greens’ long-term vision is to have a high quality public transport spine right across Canberra. We support extending light rail in stages, in line with a light rail masterplan, to ensure all parts of Canberra can use the network.
Work developing Stage 2 of Canberra’s light rail network is currently underway. Stage 2 will extend light rail from the City to Woden, creating a North-South light rail spine connecting Gungahlin to Woden.
What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
The National Capital Authority plays an important role in protecting the national interest in planning for the inner areas of Canberra and should be funded sufficiently to carry out this role. It has been disappointing to see the Federal Government using the NCA’s planning role to facilitate the privatisation of the East and West Blocks in the Parliamentary Precinct. Privatisation of important national land is unacceptable. The NCA should also be funded to pursue national heritage listing of the lake and surrounding nationally-significant areas.

The Greens have announced their plan to restore the public service to 2013 staffing levels and put a cap on the use of consultants and contractors. This would restore resources across the federal public service, including the National Capital Authority.

The Federal election is an important opportunity to improve local oversight of the work of the National Capital Authority. A Green member of the Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories would push for the NCA to be better engaged with and more accountable to the needs of people living in the ACT.

How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
The ACT Greens policy platform calls for the following on interstate transport:
Improved integration and connections to interstate transport hubs, improved services to regional heavy rail passenger stations, and proactive engagement with other jurisdictions to improve the sustainability and affordability outcomes of regional transport
The ACT Government to actively support the creation of a national high-speed rail network that incorporates Canberra
The ACT Greens understand that these connections will require a mix of different public transport solutions.
The Australian Greens have called for the construction of publicly funded and publicly owned high- speed rail from Brisbane to Melbourne. Depending on the route chosen, this could connect Canberra to Goulburn and possibly Yass.
The connection to Queanbeyan should be served by light rail, bus rapid transit or an alternative ‘trunk’ technology such as trackless trams.
Bus services for regional towns like Cooma need to be improved substantially as commuting is growing but services are currently not designed for commuters.
The extremely high fares from Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman and Yass to Canberra also need to be reduced.
What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?

The ACT Greens understand that there is a need for greater cooperation between all levels of Government to sustainably support the region’s growing population. Thanks to the Greens, the ACT is a model of ambitious investment in sustainable energy and infrastructure.

The Federal Government needs to play a stronger role, including:

• Federal Government funding support to deliver cross-border public transport infrastructure
between Canberra and Queanbeyan
• Adequate Federal funding for Landcare and catchment management groups, which work across the ACT/NSW border on water quality and habitat.
• Fixing the water-management mess in the Murray Darling Basin, of which Canberra and Queanbeyan are part
In 2016, the Australian Greens secured an additional $100 million in funding for Landcare.
Electing Greens to the Federal Parliament in 2019,will help to extend the ‘water trigger’ in our national environmental protection laws to cover all forms of gas extraction and protect farmers and their water sources. It will also support the Greens in standing up to corruption in the Murray Darling basin to stop water theft and return more water to the river.
Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
Yes.
The Greens believe that the Federal, ACT and NSW Governments should work together to deliver mass rapid transit such as light rail, bus rapid transit or another technology between Canberra and Queanbeyan. Queanbeyan was part of the 2016 ACT Light Rail Network Plan, which we support.
The Greens recognise that there is a need to address the extremely high cost of public transport connections from Canberra to Queanbeyan and other regional centres.
Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
Yes.
The Greens believe that the Federal, ACT and NSW Governments should work together to deliver light rail, bus rapid transit or another technology between Canberra and Queanbeyan. Park and Ride facilities would be an important part of delivering mass rapid transit between Canberra and Queanbeyan.
What are your other policies on public transport and planning?
The Greens have a strong track record of supporting public transport over many years. This includes the Australian Greens commitment to the construction of high-speed rail and the ACT Greens commitment to light rail and more funding for bus services. The Greens also support strong investment in public infrastructure to make walking and cycling safe and accessible.
Complete information about the Greens public transport policy is available here: https://greens.org.au/platform/renewables#public-transport
Information about the Greens policies for the ACT, including transport policies, can be found here: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-06/Community_First_-_Our_Platform.pdf
The Australian Greens 2019 platform can be found here: https://greens.org.au/policies

Canberra light rail starts carrying the public on a preview and launch day

Ryan ticket
Golden Ticket for the first public light rail passengers

On 18 April 2019 light rail began carrying members of the Canberra public along light rail stage one from Gungahlin to Civic. The ACT Government combined the official launch and letting the public ride and experience the light rail by holding a community ballot, where several hundred people won Golden Tickets, letting them on the first service. This ‘soft launch’ was also to be a test ahead of the official opening on Saturday 20 April.

The launch came the day after the national rail safety regulator accredited the network for operation, and on the day that the ACT Government announced that the light rail project came in at $707 million dollars, $76 million dollars under budget.

It was a fairly simple day with Golden Ticket winners advised to arrive at a specific stop (Gungahlin, Dickson or Civic), have their name checked off, and then wait for their vehicle to leave. It would then travel to Civic (or for the lucky passengers that left from Gungahlin, they did a complete return journey) where people could either travel back to Dickson or Gungahlin, or wait for the plaque to be unveiled. After the unveiling (and press conference) there was a light lunch for invited guests where a cake was cut and consumed (see photo further down…)!

Leaving simultaneously from Gungahlin, Dickson and Civic, these first light rail services left around midday carrying Golden Ticket winners from the public, invited guests, many members of the media, Canberra Metro staff, Transport Canberra and ACT public service executives and ACT Government MLA’s.

The excited passengers waited at each of the three major stops, boarded and set out for the first trip! Some stayed to observe the political events, but most went excitedly about the rest of their day, after being lucky enough to be on the very first trip on Canberra’s brand new light rail. Several PTCBR members attended and were fortunate to be invited to the launch and the lunch.

For people that have been campaigning for light rail in Canberra, and better public transport for many years it was a truly momentous experience. Riding in a brand new light rail vehicle, from Gungahlin to Civic, was very satisfying. It has already started to change Canberra for the better, and will for the next century.All the people associated with ACT Light Rail Coalition, ACT Light Rail and the PTCBR should be proud of the hard work they have put in over the last two decades.

The ACT Government deserve the credit for this, it has been a long hard slog with much political skin shed to get from an idea floated by former Transport Minister Simon Corbell, to a plaque being unveiled at the official opening by Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Administration of the project by Transport Canberra has been exemplary – with the project coming in $76 million under budget. Although the construction by Canberra Metro took a few months longer than anticipated, it is still a tremendous achievement. Light rail will be a lasting legacy, and something that the ALP and Greens can be rightly proud of.

This post has lots of photos of the days events, and a few links to local media coverage.

TV Coverage

WIN TV plaque 18 Apr
WIN TV Canberra coverage here

Nine News CM LR 18 aprNine Canberra TV News coverage here

abc tv newsABC Canberra TV News coverage here

Win tv newsWIN TV Canberra covered it again on 19 April here

Online Media

Video taken by PTCBR members on 19 April

Photos from the official opening day

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IMG_20190418_103255IMG_20190418_103248IMG_20190418_111854Golden Ticket winning passengers waiting for the first LRV IMG_20190418_114616IMG_20190418_113709Politicians on hand to witness the very first light rail trip for passengers!

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After arriving, the doors opened, and people raced onboard. That old guy with the walking stick is faster than you think!

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Moments later the LRV was full

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After years of campaigning for light rail – it was amazing to be on the first trip out of Gungahlin

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This LRV exiting the EPIC stop, is the first LRV from Civic carrying passengers to Gungahlin
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The view down Northbourne Avenue is very different than the view we have seen as car passengers/drivers – when the trees grow back it will be beautiful
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Lots of people made the trip to the light rail stations just to take photos of the first LRV’s
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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris MLA unveiled a plaque and then answered questions from the media for some time

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PTCBR Chair Damien Haas, Former Transport Minister Simon Corbell, Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris at the official opening of Canberra’s light rail
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PTCBR Chair Damien Haas and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury
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Transport Canberra and City Services Director (and former Capital Metro CEO) Emma Thomas and PTCBR Chair Damien Haas
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PTCBR Chair Damien Haas and Transport Canberra Director Duncan Edghill

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Canberra Metro CEO Glenn Stockton

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Cutting of the light rail cake

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Caroline Le Couteur MLA talk to PTCBR Public Officer (and long time light rail campaigner) Ian Ruecroft and GCC Chair Peter Elford
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PTCBR Chair Damien Haas, PTCBR Deputy Chair Ryan Hemsley and PTCBR Public Officer Ian Ruecroft at the light rail launch lunch

To stay up to date with all public transport and planning issues in Canberra,join the PTCBR here and visit our Facebook Group.

Launch of Canberra’s first light rail vehicle at the new Mitchell Depot

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On Wednesday morning the Chief Minister Andrew Barr, MLA Shane Rattenbury and Canberra Metro CEO Glenn Stockton, officially launched the first CAF Light Rail Vehicle for Canberra’s light rail network at the (almost completed) Canberra Metro light rail depot at Mitchell.

IMG_20180117_102807342.jpgAs a significant milestone for this important transport infrastructure project, the remarks by both the Chief Minister and Shane Rattenbury were focused on city building and the transformative nature of light rail. It was a confident delivery of a key election commitment, and that satisfaction was evident today. Glenn Stockton also spoke about the pride he had in his workforce in delivering the project for Canberra and that it would be delivered on time.

Todays launch clearly shows that progress on light rail stage one is continuing and on schedule for service to commence in late 2018. A second stage of the light rail network is currently being designed and worked through (the business case is imminent). The PTCBR is supportive of this as it will provide superior public transport options to Canberra’s residents, and drive the transformation of Canberra from car dependency to a more livable compact city.

Media coverage

Shane LRV launch.jpg

WINTV Canberra covered the launch here

Stockton

Nine News Canberra covered the launch here

The RiotACT covered the launch here with good reporting of the comments made by those present:

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr, centre, with the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury and Caroline Le Couteur. At left is Tilo Franz Canberra Metro General Manager Tilo Franz and Capital Metro Chief Executive Glenn Stockton. Photo. Tim Benson.

“Mr Barr said the LRV’s unveiling was an important milestone and another practical example of progress on the project and of the Government meeting its election commitments.

He said that with Canberra’s population heading towards half a million it was crucial to invest in transport infrastructure now.

“That’s why we’re continuing to work on Stage 2 of light rail together with further investments and initiatives to improve transportation within the city,” he said.

He said the sceptics had been proved wrong and he was particularly pleased with the rejuvenation of the Northbourne corridor which is occurring faster than expected.

“There were many sceptics in the lead-up to the procurement of this project and many people said I wouldn’t be standing here as Chief Minister after the last election as a result of our advocacy for this project,” he said.

“Those sceptics also said there wouldn’t be the sort of investment and renewal in the Northbourne corridor we’re witnessing.”

He said there would a continued focus on public transport improvement, with light rail at the centre, including more rapid bus routes, improved demand responsive transport and more active transport options.

“It’s all part of making Canberra an easier city to get around and a better city to live in,” Mr Barr said.

The ACT Greens’ Cabinet Minister Shane Rattenbury said the Canberra LRV was the first in Australia to have a dedicated space for bicycles and was part of the strategy to provide as many options and as much connectivity as possible.

“I think well see people using light rail as their central transport spine, particularly when Stage 2 to Woden is complete,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury could even see bikeshare services install racks at light rail stops.

He said travelling to and from Gungahlin would be much easier and the Government was now considering a stop at Mitchell, where traders have been campaigning not to be bypassed.

“This is a really important part of shaping our city for the future. This is about providing modern environmentally friendly transport alternatives for Canberrans,” Mr Rattenbury said.”

The Canberra Times reported on the launch here:

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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr with Canberra’s first light rail vehicle at its depot in Mitchell. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

“Canberra Metro chief executive Glenn Stockton said one tram a week will start arriving in Canberra from the end of March, with testing on an electrified track to begin in April. “

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who revealed he’d nicknamed the tram Cam in what could be seen as a nod to the Can-The-Tram movement, said there was a degree of satisfaction in seeing the project reach this stage.

“Let’s be frank, there were many sceptics in the lead up to the procurement of this project. Many people said I wouldn’t be standing here as Chief Minister after the last election as a result of our advocacy for this project.

“Those sceptics also said there wouldn’t be this sort of investment and renewal of the Northbourne corridor we’re currently witnessing so there’s a strong sense of satisfaction but we’ve still got a way to go, we’ve got a second stage of this project to work through in the context of this parliamentary term and there’s a lot more new investment coming for Canberra and a continued focus on public transport improvement.”

Mr Barr said the business case for the second stage of the project would be looked at when cabinet reconvened later in January.

“Let me be very clear we are committed to further stages of Canberra’s light rail network. We’ve committed in the last election to stage two and my mind is of course turning to stage three and beyond,” Mr Barr said.

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More photos below…

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The red Transport Canberra livery is quite attractive. No advertising will be seen on Canberra’s light rail vehicles (at least in this term of government)

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The physical size of the vehicle was remarked upon by many people present. Parked next to a bus, its size will be quite evident. That is largely because it is designed to carry 200 plus passengers, as opposed to 80 on a bus.

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You don’t want to lose parts!

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The Mitchell depot is still being fitted out.

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Always useful to have a crane in a heavy vehicle depot.

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I think the Chief Minister is asking where the ignition keys are…

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ACT Assembly extends third party insurance to light rail

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On Wednesday August 1st 2017 some important legislation covering a few practical elements for light rail operations, was passed in the ACT legislative Assembly. This regulatory update permits licensed car drivers to legally operate light rail vehicles. The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment also extends third party insurance to light rail vehicles and passengers. In a sensible move, Segway riders are also now subject to drink driving legislation.

TCCS Minister Meegan Fitzharris’ office issued a press release with more detail:

Light rail on track for a safe and successful future

The first stage of reforms to the ACT’s road transport legislation to support the safe operation of light rail was today passed in the Legislative Assembly.

The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment delivers legislation to support the safe operation of light rail vehicles in the Territory’s road environment through integration with the ACT’s road transport legislation and road rules.

Drivers of light rail vehicles will be required to hold a full car licence and be provided with extensive training on operating a light rail vehicle.

If a driver is detected breaking a road rule, such as running a red light or speeding, they can be issued with an infringement notice and face a fine and potentially lose their licence.

Light rail vehicles are also covered by the ACT’s compulsory third party insurance scheme, ensuring that a person involved in an accident with a light rail vehicle is treated the same as if the accident involved any other type of vehicle.

A driver of a light rail vehicle is subject to the same requirements applying to drivers of vehicles involved in an accident. A police officer can require the driver to be tested for alcohol and/or drugs.

The bill also subjects a user of a segway-type (‘personal mobility’) device to two drink driving laws: consuming alcohol while riding, and riding while intoxicated.

“This is a significant step forward in the delivery of a modern and sustainable public transport network in Canberra,” said Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris also welcomed this significant step in the light rail project.

“An integrated public transport network with both light rail and buses is the way of the future and an essential part of how cities operate,” Minister Fitzharris said.

“While the physical side of the project continues to develop in clear view of the community, having the legislation in place to ensure the network is convenient and safe is also crucial to the success of the project.”

 

The Public Transport Association of Canberra is the regions peak public transport lobby group. Their website is at ptcbr.org and a robust discussion on public transport and planning takes place at their Facebook page.

Membership in PTCBR is $20 a year for adults and $10 a year for any concession card holder.