2 April 2019

Greens say dump Monash Drive to protect our environment for the future

| Shane Rattenbury MLA
Join the conversation

The NCA remains attached to the Monash Drive “ghost road”. Image: Supplied

It’s no surprise to many of us that Canberra has just been named the most liveable city in the country for the third year in a row.

There’s no doubt that our city is changing. We have the second-fastest population growth rate in the country. Light rail stage one is only weeks away.

The Greens have spent a decade in the balance of power working to improve sustainable transport options. We’ve achieved the realisation of a high-quality public transport option in the first stage of light rail, as well as significant improvement in walking and cycling.

We know that if we make the right decisions today, the Canberra of the future will continue to be highly liveable. It will be smart and efficient, and a zero net emissions city that leads by example in addressing the global challenge of climate change.

To do this, we must protect our natural environment—protecting our parks and waterways, our green spaces, our biodiversity, our wildlife and our nature reserves.

But not everyone is committed to this vision. A few weeks ago, we learned that the National Capital refuses to let go of the idea that we might one day build a motorway through our nature reserves in Canberra’s north. The ‘Monash Drive’ corridor would wreak havoc on the natural environment around Mount Ainslie, cutting behind Hackett, Ainslie and Campbell.

If Monash Drive is built, protected woodlands and beloved walking and cycling tracks would have to be bulldozed. Not to mention the increased noise, congestion, and pollution that would come with more cars in the suburbs.

Despite being a relic of the last century, the NCA is refusing to remove this ghost road from their blueprint for our city, saying that the bypass may be needed in the future. This is completely out of step with Canberra’s increasingly sustainable future.

The ACT is on a journey towards zero greenhouse gas emissions, and part of that is transitioning to sustainable modes of transport. Building more and more roads just continues the endless cycle of car dependency. Not only is this a problem contributing to global warming, it inevitably erodes the liveability of our city and leads to congestion, pollution and inconvenience.

Smart cities around the world, like Canberra, are transitioning away from car-dominated planning, and instead creating highly-liveable, environmentally-friendly cities. That is why the Greens required Labor to abandon this road through our 2008 Parliamentary Agreement. We removed it from the Territory Plan and have been pushing for the National Capital Authority to erase it from the National Capital Plan.

In fact, Canberra residents would be served much better if we instead built a high-quality cycling and walking route on the general alignment proposed for Monash Drive. We need to keep planning and building for the Canberra of the future—new motorways through our nature reserves definitely should not be part of it.

Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Greens Member for Kurrajong.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

This proposed road reminds me a bit of Sulwood drive behind Kambah and Wanniassa.

Hard to tell whether Sulwood drive has had a good or bad impact on the environment around Mt Taylor.

In some ways it opens up quick and easy access for Canberrans to enjoy their nearby trails and walks. But on the negative side, it has eaten into the land border by about 40 meters.

Wasn’t light rail going to solve the Northbourne Avenue congestion?

Rattenbury believes in a family of four riding bikes to do the shopping, going to work, going to school, going to sports/ballet/doctors. It’s fine when you’re an overpaid pollie, supplied with a taxpayer funded car and fuel card. Meanwhile, as Canberra grows, the sprawl increases. The Greens have no plans except more people, more congestion

As a child I attended five different schools (country towns and city). I rode my bike or walked to every one of those schools, as did most of my class mates, unless they came to school on a school bus from way out in the country. Except for a few months in one town when I was boarded out on a farm, so I too caught the bus for that time.
As an adult I rode my bike to work for over thirty years.

This idea (in urban areas) where children must be driven to school is a modern one.

David J Whittem9:08 pm 04 Apr 19

Monash drive has been on the plan for North Canberra for decades, with the likelihood of Northbourne Avenue becoming a 40kph zone and further gridlock it should be built, however if not it is commuters in North Canberra who will be most disadvantaged.

The Greens wouldn’t want that road built because it would negatively affect property prices in parts of the inner north and that just wouldn’t do.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.