The Australian Capital Territory Government has launched the formal approval process for the next stage of Canberra’s light rail network, which will link the city to Woden.
During the 2016 election, the ACT Labor party made a commitment to do the work on extending light rail to Woden.
The Government will lodge plans for referral under the Commonwealth’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) which will seek to progress the planning approvals for light rail to Woden – with two referrals from the City to Commonwealth Park, and from Commonwealth Park on to Woden.
ACT Minister for Transport, Chris Steel, said that progressing separate referrals through the EPBC process is appropriate given the very different planning, heritage and environmental considerations in different parts of the corridor.
“We hope through this approvals process, we can get on with the first segment between the City and Commonwealth Park more quickly while we continue to work with the Commonwealth on the approval for the remaining part of the route to Woden.
“With the completion of light rail stage one, we have the skills and expertise in the city that can transition to work on the next stage.
“We are aiming to ensure that complexities in the Commonwealth Park to Woden alignment can be worked through properly with the Commonwealth without holding up work on the extension of light rail between the City and Commonwealth Park.
The route passing through the Parliamentary Zone via State Circle East is included for assessment in a separate Commonwealth Park to Woden EPBC submission, as it contains more complex considerations, such as the approach to Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and crossing the lake towards Parliament House. It is expected that it will take longer to resolve with the Commonwealth.
“Light rail can help reduce congestion in our iconic national areas while bringing more people in to experience our national heritage and collections. It will also provide better access to public transport for the growing City West and ANU precincts, which are an important part of the city’s overall growth,” Minister Steel said.
“The rigorous EPBC process, which applies throughout Australia for major infrastructure projects, will give the Canberra community clarity on the heritage and environmental considerations that need to be sensitively managed as part of taking light rail through the Parliamentary area.”
The progression of Light Rail to Woden is a Parliamentary Agreement item.