THE ACT government is continuing with its preferred route for the light rail from the City to Woden via City West and Barton despite Federal committee recommendations on Monday (October 23).
In the report the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories recommended that the ACT government could “quickly and easily” move forward through the other approval processes if it used the route already provided for in the National Capital Plan.
“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,” says committee chair Ben Morton.
But Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris says the ACT government will pursue its preferred route.
“The planned route attracts more passengers, creates less impacts and provides critical connectivity for more national attractions, universities, residential areas and employment centres,” she says.
“The planned route has been informed by extensive consultation with the Canberra community, with around 75 per cent of respondents supporting a route that travels through Barton.
“The Committee highlighted a number of sensitivities around building light rail in the Parliamentary triangle. We acknowledge and respect those sensitivities and will work closely with the National Capital Authority to deliver the government’s commitment to the Canberra community to build light rail to Woden.”
Minister Fitzharris says that now the Committee has released its report, the ACT government will work with the National Capital Authority on any possible changes to the National Capital Plan and continue to finalise a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) in the coming weeks which will commence formal approval for the planned alignment.