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.
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.