25 September 2023

Light rail tracks into Parliament Triangle

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A Joint Committee of the Federal Parliament considering the ACT’s plans for Stage 2 of the light rail project has released a report recommending the project make use of existing approved light rail routes through the Parliamentary Triangle to save time and money.

Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, Ben Morton MP said the development of Canberra’s light rail service should not come at the cost of the long-term character and heritage of the National Capital.

“We are not seeking to slow or hinder the approvals process, but rather to provide certainty for the ACT Government and the people of Canberra,” Mr Morton said.

“The Light Rail Stage 2 project passes through and adjacent to a number of key cultural and heritage sites,” Mr Morton said.

“Like all projects and proposals in these areas, it must be consistent with the legal requirements imposed by the National Capital Plan.”

He said routes for rapid transit such as light rail were already provided for in the National Capital Plan, and if the ACT Government were to use those routes the project could move forward quickly and easily.

“However, should the ACT Government choose to pursue a route alignment that is only partially consistent with the National Capital Plan, this will unavoidably add further complexity, time, and cost to the project,” Mr Morton said.

The Committee’s report made six recommendations regarding the approvals process and heritage requirements.

Commenting on the report, ACT Minister for Transport, Meegan Fitzharris said it clearly outlined a pathway to obtaining approvals for the project.

“The ACT Government will pursue its preferred route for light rail from the City to Woden via City West and Barton,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“The planned route attracts more passengers, creates less impact and provides critical connectivity for more national attractions, universities, residential areas and employment centres.”

She said the planned route had been informed by extensive consultation with the Canberra community, with around 75 per cent of respondents supporting a route that travelled through Barton.

The Federal Parliament Committee’s 68-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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