Abolish the NCA to get Light Rail moving

Bec Cody MLA 8 July 2019 67
Labor MLA and member for Murrumbidgee Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage Two. Image of proposed light rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Labor MLA Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage 2. Image of proposed Light Rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Last week, the ACT Government has been forced to break up the project of extending Light Rail to Woden. City to the Lake, and then onto Woden.

There has been wild speculation in the media about how much this will delay the project. To be honest, I do not know.

The good news is that by breaking it up, we can get work started on the first section, and get more Canberrans into work building it.

As far as the second part goes, that is in the hands of the National Capital Authority and their skills at delaying projects and stifling our community. I wanted Light Rail to Woden to be under construction by now, and I’m sorry the Government haven’t achieved it. With Interest Rates at one per cent, there has never been a better time for Government to invest in infrastructure.

When I run up Mt Ainslie and look out over Canberra, I compare it with the Burley Griffin plan. The plan was for a dense city of Government departments clustered around the Parliament, and Adelaide Avenue lined with medium rise buildings. When I look at what’s there, I see a dead heart, an open wasteland of nothingness. What should be the bustling centre of our National Capital is bleak, visionless and holding our city back.

As a Southsider, with an office in Civic, I travel through the NCA designated area most days. Whenever I can, I cycle to work. The connections are awful around the city area. Across the South side of Canberra, there is great cycling infrastructure, but then you hit NCA designated areas and you get lost.

Unless you are very familiar with the area, trying to get from the fantastic on-road cycling areas on Adelaide Avenue to the city centre is difficult. You have to go on bike paths, then on to footpaths, then back on to the road with limited designated cycling area. And this is only one example.

I’ve tried to walk around the NCA designated area, and it was not easy. What at first glance looks like grand national buildings in parkland is mostly inaccessible by foot. Anyone who has seen stranded tourists attempting to access Anzac Avenue from the lake by dashing across Parkes Way knows the reality: the NCA designated area is designed for cars.

Imagine if every second block of Washington, London, or Paris was demolished, asphalted, and used for parking? It’s not the way to run a city or show off our national monuments.

They say the purpose of the National Capital Authority is to protect the character of our national monuments. Protect them from what? From the people of Canberra? We are not savages. In fact, the people of Canberra have more interest in maintaining and improving the character of our national capital than anyone else. These areas are our most important asset, our biggest tourist attraction, and bring many business visitors to our city.

Nobody has more at stake in making these assets attractive than us.

Instead of improving the amenity of our city, the National Capital Authority applies its bureaucratic control to keep the dead heart of our National Capital stuck in 1969. It actively rejects the Burley Griffin vision, whilst loyally defending every planning mistake made since.

With the exception of the NCA area of control, we can see the vitality of inner-city communities from Braddon to Kingston. Whilst I like living in the suburbs with space for a motorbike and a dog or two, I meet a lot of people today who want to live in an apartment, they want to walk to a cafe, bar or restaurant, and enjoy a higher-density lifestyle. That was the Burley Griffin vision, and the lifestyle being embraced by many.

It’s time to abolish the National Capital Authority. It’s a waste of Federal Taxpayer expense and a roadblock to the development of our city. If it were not for the NCA’s commitment to preserving a museum of planning mistakes in the centre of our city, Canberra could keep improving its public transport, raise densities, and be a more pedestrian-friendly place for tourists.

Bec Cody is the Labor member for Murrumbidgee.

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67 Responses to Abolish the NCA to get Light Rail moving
bj_ACT bj_ACT 9:51 am 12 Jul 19

Anyone hear Ms Cody’s train wreck interview on 666 this morning? She couldn’t articulate her views and never actually answered a single question asked of her. How about she fix the issues her party has created for Tuggeranong, before worrying about more housing activity in the parliamentary triangle.

Rowan Cairns Rowan Cairns 5:50 pm 10 Jul 19

Yeah Canberra is a wasteland. It’s such a wasteland that Stirling has just lost a open full size afl field to “commercial and residential” (ground 3). Your light rail won’t come to weston creek, I work in a industrial area so I will never use it. My kids (10 and 8) have to catch 2 buses to school from Rivett to Holder, my daughter had to wait 11 months to have her tonsils out but yeah the NCA is the real issue in Canberra. The last 5-6 years this place has gone to crap because of the government. On a side note, whose idea was it to block off turning lanes onto Northbourne at lights? A 24 tonne truck can’t manoeuvre how you want So I now use back streets. Ffs think of the implications before you think and act. You are destroying the ACT

Bek Clark Bek Clark 1:26 pm 10 Jul 19

And have the ACT Govt run national institutions? 😐

g210 g210 10:32 am 10 Jul 19

Everyone must be so happy our assembly was expanded some years ago so we could get more hard working MLAs – just like Bec Cody. Who knew there was so much “open wasteland of nothingness” that required filling up with “higher-density lifestyle”. Good thing people can judge for themselves all the “fantastic” planning decisions being made across the other 99% of Canberra. It’s not the NCA we need to get rid of.

Christopher Mawbey Christopher Mawbey 5:13 am 10 Jul 19

Nope abolish the ACT itself. Hand it all back to NSW. Let the NCA run the circle around parliament house.

ohz0ne ohz0ne 11:55 pm 09 Jul 19

There was a time in history when politicians were deal makers and worked across every interested party to come to a resolution for the great good of the community. Alas all we have now are children masquerading as community leaders who cross their arms, stamp their legs up and down and go red faced and demand that the other party be abolished all because they don’t get their way. What a bunch of children!

phoon phoon 11:06 pm 09 Jul 19

This article essay is so out of touch with reality I actually had to check the byline a couple of times to confirm it was an MLA that wrote it and that it wasn’t interested see If Bec really looks out from Mount Ainslie and sees the very spaces that make Canberra special as “wasted spaces” and thinks she’s going to win friends by planning to rip out car parks and green spaces and fill the lot up with yet more disgusting apartment buildings we are in a lot of trouble.

Actually talk to people Bec. The Canberra you are talking about is unequivocally NOT the way it should be. And if you don’t love Canberra the way it has always been you should really go to a place more to your liking. Pretty much every city in Australia has plenty of ugly grey buildings for you to admire. We don’t need to do that to the parts of our beautiful city that you have not yet defaced. Thank goodness the NCA will not let you do it to the parliamentary triangle.

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 10:00 pm 09 Jul 19

So this is what we’re getting from “our” ACT Government? Please, please, please Canberra stop mucking around and vote this lot out next year and elect the alternative.

Wing Nut Wing Nut 9:42 pm 09 Jul 19

With the Barr Government failing to deliver the fundamental basics, why are they spend an obscene amount of money on light rail? Ego is all I can think of.

    Gilavon Gilavon 1:54 pm 10 Jul 19

    Yep, the ego of the Greens. They wanted light rail, Barr wanted to continue in the “bosses” job. He caved in to the Greens and they let him be boss.

Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 8:10 pm 09 Jul 19

Why is Stage 2 of Light Rail so important? Why is there no discussion on how to improve the public hospital system in the ACT. Transport options for our growing population is important, but so is a big funding boost for the hospital system to look after the growing population. Mental health and homelessness are completely ignored. I find the obsession with Light Rail stage 2 very strange. And I find the statement that many people want to live in apartments a little questionable.

    Dave Hall Dave Hall 9:22 pm 09 Jul 19

    there are three mental health facilities in the ACT that i know of and $500 million was announced for funding a new addition to canberra hospital last November

Roderick Saunders Roderick Saunders 7:50 pm 09 Jul 19

Megalomania inversely proportionate to competence

Andrew Jack Andrew Jack 7:29 pm 09 Jul 19

Abolish self government - its a joke

PigsFly PigsFly 3:06 pm 09 Jul 19

I am 0% in favour of getting rid of the NCA and 100% in favour of getting rid of this over self inflated egotistical government that we have here in Canberra. Barr, Cody and all the rest of them are just the equivalent of local council members that should be far more concerned with serving us Canberrans than themselves.

Simon Payne Simon Payne 11:14 am 09 Jul 19

I don't understand why the ACT government exists or indeed any of the state governments.

approx approx 9:00 am 09 Jul 19

Politics aside, I cannot believe this person is an elected representative. Doesn’t Canberra have better to offer than this?

I recall Bec Cody saying she was from a town in NSW, but I can’t confirm this. If you think Canberra’s open spaces are wasteland maybe live somewhere else! What do your constituents want, Bec? Have you, you know, spoken to them?? You represent the electorate, not developers.

Julie Coker-Godson Julie Coker-Godson 10:00 pm 08 Jul 19

Typical of a Labor MLA. Labor have been trying to get rid of the NCA for years.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:14 pm 08 Jul 19

By way of comparison with the capital of the nation with which we often liken ourselves, the ever-interesting Wikipedia advises that –

“The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Mayor and thirteen-member Council. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. “


“The mayor and council set local taxes and a budget, which must be approved by the Congress. “


Interesting to note that DC, with a population at least half as large again as Canberra’s, and a budget three to four times the size of the ACT Government, manages with thirteen members.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:26 am 10 Jul 19

    And the United States is the only developed nation that treats paid time off as a perk rather than a right. While countries like Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain each offer their citizens more than 30 days off a year in annual leave and paid holidays, the United States offers… zero.

    Australia guarantees at least 20 paid days leave a year plus that ridiculous holiday loading that no one else gives.

    It’s all about productivity – same reason we don’t have a car manufacturing industry anymore.

    Gilavon Gilavon 11:04 pm 11 Jul 19

    The Yanks manage things efficiently. Labor has to placate all the factions, they want their pay-off.

Gilavon Gilavon 6:53 pm 08 Jul 19

Oh dear! Bec Cody going off on another wobbly tangent. Bec and the ACT “Government” need to remember Rule 1: The ACT is established as the National Capital to serve all Australians and Australia, the NCA has a function to perform under, as I recall it, the Seat of Government ACT of about 1900. The ACT “Government” and the citizens of the ACT are subservient to the Commonwealth legislation so anyone with any idea of abolishing the NCA would be better advised to leave the Territory. Remember that’s what it is, at Territory, it has very little in the way of states rights.

So Mr Barr is feeling frustrated his idea of progress isn’t progressing and the CFMMEU members must be sitting around twiddling their thumbs huh?

Bolbi Bolbi 6:51 pm 08 Jul 19

Unbelievable that Bec Cody thinks Canberrans can trust the current ACT government more than the NCA to provide the character they want. A government that describes a clump of trees as underutilised space. I can’t imagine what they would do if they got control of Parkes and the lake. Well, actually, I can imagine it, and it horrifies me.

William William William William 6:39 pm 08 Jul 19

in 14 years as we did with the first stage should be here by 2035? IS FREE TO ALL FROM 9.00AM TO 16.00 WITH OPAL CARD USERS/MY WAY FREE ALL DAY WEEKENDS 30 % LOSS SINCE NEW SERVICE STARTED IN MAY

    Julia Bocking Julia Bocking 6:32 pm 11 Jul 19

    why does public transport have to turn a profit? It is infrastructure for the PUBLIC

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