30 August 2007

MLAs recommend an end to free parking for Federales

| captainwhorebags
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The standing committee on Planning and Environment has identified the availability of free parking “perks” as a disincentive to use the unprofitable ACTION network, according to this story today.

“Free parking on Commonwealth Government-occupied premises is a disincentive to the use of public transport and impacts negatively on the ACT’s ability to raise revenue from public transport,” the report said.

Both workers and visitors to Federal Buildings would be targeted. Areas identified for gouging include the Russell Precinct, Parliament House and departments within Barton and the Parliamentary Triangle. How the local government plans to enforce this on Commonwealth land is beyond me.

How about looking at why the ACTION services are unpopular, rather than using punitive measures to encourage uptake. A price rise, also suggested by the committee, is not likely to encourage usage either.

Of course, if the MLA’s are serious about this, then they should be foregoing their free parking privileges at the London Circuit Soviet. Not likely.

UPDATED: Apparently the Feds agree, so it looks like pay parking is inevitable.

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Paying for parking doesn’t miraculously make parking problems disappear. Look at Civic, the most expensive parking in Canberra. It’s a nightmare.

Making people who work in Barton/the triangle pay for parking just sounds like a punitive measure, to me. Who will it actually benefit? Just lashing out at people who aren’t paying for parking might make people feel better, but it achieves very little.

MLAs get a free car and a parking spot right in the middle of civic – free.

My suggestion – not to build on the Canberra Theatre carpark or the Civic pool carpark. The disastrous parkign situation in Civic is now impacting on Russel, Campbell, regatta point and braddon. It will only get worse as parking diminishes.

I would suggest

– filling in half of Lake Burley Griffin

– Construction of a MEGA carpark on top of newly filled in former lake areas.

– Light rail, light zeppilin and bus based public transport to and from said MEGA carpark to the CBD/Parliamentary Triangle/Canberra Airport/Fyshwick area – could also service new Kingston Foreshore area and hook up with existing train tracks if that side of the lake is the side that gets filled in…

Do the MLAs pay for parking?

Gungahlin Al1:25 pm 31 Aug 07

Ingee: I’d have to agree on that stance. The one national attraction we do have to pay to park at – the botanical gardens – gives me the ribbets every time I go there because of it.

But how to stop free-loaders if pay-parking for staff was introduced…?

Ingeegoodbee11:43 am 31 Aug 07

Some time ago I was told by a senior Liberal staffer that present Commonwealth government has a philosophical issue with paid parking at places like the National Library, the National Science and Technology Centre and National Gallery – given that these places are paid for by the Australian tax payer, they shouldn’t get slugged again when they come to visit these places.

I suppose that position might be reflected by the extraordinary lengths that the NGA goes to to keep pubes out of its car park before it opens to the public.

Bring on light rail then.

Thanks Gungahlin Al for backing up my story.

I heard that guy from the NCA this morning as well. That sounded like a “yes” to me.

Thumper: Yes.

As I understand it, the NCA DOES support paid parking, its the powerful Fed departments (Finance, PM&C etc) who don’t want it, and don’t want their workers to have to pay. VicePope had it right about the reason, its supposedly due to lack of amenity in the area. But soon the public servants relocating to Civic are going to experience lack of amenity too, when they can’t find a car park and can’t get a bus either, for all the reasons others have already stated (timetables, routes, scariness).

Humphries has really got it wrong if he’s saying people in Barton shouldn’t pay for parking. We all pay one way or another, but wouldn’t it be fairer if everyone had to pay? Maybe then there could be money for more park and ride stations.

There is currently not one bus service directly from any suburb in Gungahlin to Russell. Ok, there is one, which runs once a day and gets to Russell at 8:35am, after most people have to start work. I don’t know how this could ever be seen as acceptable…

Gungahlin Al6:42 pm 30 Aug 07

Aww crap…it was meant to say “at our June meeting.”

Gungahlin Al6:39 pm 30 Aug 07

Thanks GnT – So the hint text below should read?:
[a href=”url” title=”highlighted word/s”[/a]
But pointy brackets? (Find out in a minute…)

God – it took years to get rid of MS-DOS and now we have to learn another cryptic bloody language…?
When you upgrade RA Friday night guys, can you install a WYSIWYG editor, please?

Andy: ACTION GM Tom Elliott said just that at . I reminded him that regardless of how we feel about SnoTown, it is there, it is legal, and there are now several thousand ACT residents/taxpayers who don’t have any say in the matter and who are not receiving equitable services from the Government/ACTION. He eventually agreed that it would be given serious consideration during the service review now under way. In the meantime, I’ve asked Airport reps whether they would subsidise a pilot of such a bus service to help prove the demand. We’ll see.

Now let’s see if I’ve got this linky thing right…

Gunghalin Al – You need to put [/a] (but with pointy brackets) at the end of the word you want highlighted.

What about building a massive car park at Campbell park behind defence, and doing park n ride from there?

Or at Regatta point.

Is Sen Humphries’ support for free parking (for some) like his support for his public sector constituents whose Comcare entitlements were monstered this year. In other words, illusory.

For this, and so many other reasons, Put Humphries Last.

Is he also in support of FREE BEER?

How do you reconcile that comment with the fact that the NCA is reportedly in favour of paid parking in the triangle, and has been for some time?

Gazza Humphries has come out in support of FREE PARKING. No doubt if Labor wins federally and they abolish the NCA the ACT Government will get there way!

Al – action aren’t going to run busses to BBP though.
they’ve repeatedly said they won’t do it.. and despite a particular department saying several times they are “negotiating” with the ACT Govco to make it happen, it’s not happening, even after 2 years.

Gungahlin Al2:19 pm 30 Aug 07

Well screwed up the linky thing yet again. Jazz could you please fix up the HTML text above the comment box to make it clear for us non-html nerds how to properly embed a link, because it doesn’t seem to be clear about how to close the link? Thanks.

Gungahlin Al2:09 pm 30 Aug 07

On the city loop idea: the committee did recommend investigation of the idea (recommendation 43).

On the cost of light rail or otherwise substantially improving public transport, consider this:

The ACT Government will soon start work (after Piallago intersection works) on a $150M upgrade of Majura Road due to the traffic to SnoTown from Gungahlin. Yet there is currently no bus service down said road.
GCC ran a poll for a few weeks and got some 70 people saying they’d use such a service most/all week days. If there turned out to be enough patronage to run several buses a day on that road and it took enough heat off the road to defer construction for say just one year, what would this amount to? $150M x say 5% interest = $7.5M = 15 or 16 new gas buses.
And that is how public transport saves money elsewhere, despite running at a loss itself. You need to look at the whole picture.

Apparently one of the other recommendations of the LA committee that kicked over this rock was a new ACTION parliamentary triangle loop service.
Comment by caf — 30 August, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

Departing from where? There’s not enough car parks to support civic workers in town to also do a park and ride

Apparently one of the other recommendations of the LA committee that kicked over this rock was a new ACTION parliamentary triangle loop service.

OF course they don’t.

And given that people are clearly willing to walk for ages to get cheap parking near civic (from the Rex, Russell, the lake etc), a smart govt would put on some extra Park N Ride parking, somewhere nearish to Civic. Maybe they should turn the Rex into a massive multi-storey carpark when they knock it over.

That’s the argument that’s always been run and it’s not a bad one. But it says that there are two classes of people in, say, Barton. One comprises tourists (good) and the other comprises workers (bad). There is no way of saying whether an ACT (or NSW) car parked anywhere there is there because the driver works in AGD or because he or she is having a geek at the National Archives. A smart person might run a frequent bus around Barton to let tourists park at the edges somewhere and move freely between attractions – or does someone already do that?

I had thought the NCA preferred free parking due to the tourism angle.

Visiting the Gallery, the Library and OPH in one day would add up if you weren’t up to walking and had to pay to park three times.

I worked in the triangle for a long while, before going to another location. A major reason for free parking is that the level of amenity, compared to a town centre, is somewhere south of zero. Very limited walking range options for lunch and no capacity to visit the bank, hairdresser, whatever. As well, bus services were less than comprehensive, especially after about 5 – and this in an area where the public sector drones were expected to work long hours and where leaving PM&C at 6 was seen as act of disloyalty to one’s colleagues.

More generally, I have been wondering about two ACT issues – schools and buses, the later of which is intertwined with parking in all sorts of cross-subsidising ways. In each case, there is a pretty good quality service (for most people) provided free or for a cost well below recovery, meaning large public subsidies have to be paid. Yet, the figures suggests anyone who can avoid using either, even at vast personal expense, does so. Does this suggest (a) that the ACT Government should give the game away in these fields because it is obviously not very good at it or (b) that there is a need to rethink whether they are trying to achieve a service of value to most people or a welfare service for those who can afford nothing else?

According to today’s CT the federal Territories Minister is on board, and “The National Capital Authority had pushed for pay parking in the Parliamentary Triangle for more than a decade, but the Federal Government had refused.”.

Russell Carparking is also ridiculous now, due to people who work in Civic parking there and bussing to civic or the airport.

So fixing Civic carparking seems to be the root of hte problem. But instead they are building more buildings, for more people, on top of existing carparks. Sigh.

Civic is one of the areas of Canberra that is accessible by bus from large parts of Canberra. If people are not bussing, despite difficulty parking, and parking fees, then there must be a reason for that. (Lack of busses after 5.30 – cost of bus – revolting nature of interchange – scariness of civic after dark etc etc). If pay parking in civic hasn’t made people catch the bus, introducing pay parking in Barton sure won’t.

Did you hear the guy from the NCA on the 666 breakfast program? He said that the NCA position is that paid parking should be introduced in the triangle and that is what they have recommended to the Jim Loyyd. But I think he said that there is no official paper on their recomendation and that no decision has therfore been made? The radio presentor had a difficult time understanding the NCA pratt too.

Well roads are not cheap too and they have to be funded by the tax payer. The 4 lane Parkway will cost what $150-200 million?

It is a well known fact that Defence has a lot of housing in Gungahlin (no I am not going to do your research) It is also a well known fact that since Brindabella Park opened and Horse Park Drive was established, car density along the Majura road are at close to maximum (approx 15,000-18,000 per day) necessitating the construction the Parkway: blame Snow for one. Also I am sure that if light rail was extended along Constitution Ave (have you seen the NCA plans for it: very high density residential/offices), then people will get on the tram to travel to BD to do some shopping, as they do when they travel to Civic by public transport. It would be highly illogical not to build a stop at BD (remember park-and-ride would be the main reason) if the tram went to Gungahlin.

Furthermore, I have highlighted the benefits of a park-and-ride, which will only ever be built on the outskirts. Brand Depot is perfectly positioned to capture the Queanbeyan market for one.

Finally, and I stress this again, I would not lobby for light rail, unless the Feds dug deep in to their pockets to build it. At $15 to $20M per km light rail is not afforable by us mere ACT rate payers.

51modelBloke8:32 am 30 Aug 07

noodle, you the man, um woman, um person (to be politically correct)

Continuing the harp about ‘light rail’ perhaps this is an opportunity for Nohope and assoc. to trip down the path of the proposed poo2water conversion facility (facility is one of my faourite words) and go MAGLEV. Then they would have another magnificent white elephant ‘state of the art’ infrastructure to gloat about. Got that off my chest…

Sorry to be niggling about this but:

_Why_ would you sell it that the Snow’s would like it at Brand Depot? Yeah, they’ve got park-and-ride now. But what about the Canberra Centre, or EpiCentre (if that ever gets out of the ground) or Woden Plaza, or any of the others? Why would you promote one mega commercial business above others? I don’t understand the logic there. Should light rail go where people want to go? As far as I can tell, most people want to go to the Canberra Centre!

And what makes you say most people working at Defence or AFP live in Gungahlin? That’s a pretty sweeping generalisation.

If more people lived in this town, or there were higher urban densities, light rail would be great.

You say that light rail wouldn’t be cheap, and who cares? I care. One way or another that’s taxpayers dollars.


There is Federal funding available. I believe bonfire talked about it a few weeks back and it is to do with sustainability.

I would be appealing to the basic instincts of the parliament bum shiners by saying light rail from the airport to Parliament House door would avoid the taxi snarl at the airport. Then I would sell the idea that the Snow’s would like the light rail to stop at Brand Depot: Brand Depot now promotes itself as a park-and-ride. then there is going to be a massive increase in defence personnel at Russell and parking will get tighter there: they may park at Brand Depot (and who knows may also shop there?). So workers in Russell could hop onto a tram at BD.

Then there is talk about building a mega AFP facility in the Majura valley.

Most of the people working at Russell and at AFP centre proabably would live in Gungahlin. A lot of people who work at Brindabella Park live in Gungahlin, as evidenced by the bumper to bumper peak hour traffic on the road.

That would place on the existing road a couple of thousand extra cars per day.

Planning for the Majura 4 lane Parkway is being done now.

Instead of ACT money being on said Parkway, place it into the mix with the said Federal funding to build light rail from PH to Gungahlin. It would be nucleous of a light rail network spreading across Canberra. It wont be cheap as the fools from the Conservation Council state with their heads up a wombat arse would state ($2M to $3M per km). But who cares?

Pandy – did I read your comment right? Building light rail to take people to brand depot is green policy? Do you mean its Deb Foskey’s policy to take people to brand depot????

Even if that was a slip of the keystroke, I don’t see how your idea (or the greens?) could work. Why that route? And how frequently do you think people would catch a train from the airport to parliament house on days other than the beginning or end of sitting weeks?

There has got to be more in it than we are seeing here. Only a half wit with barely a brain can see that the current bus service is woefully inadequate and that….hang on, we’re talking Hargreaves and the Monkey Crowd.
I thought we wouldn’t need to get buses coz the roads will be so much safer with the alarming increase in red light revenue raisers.
Oh the humanity……

OK guys, shoot me down in flames on this one but .. as someone who until recently worked in Barton, and who now has to get in to Barton fairly often for meetings during the day, I think there is a problem with parking in the area, which is exacerbated by the fact that its free in the parliamentary triangle, but not in Civic. Because its so hard to get a park in Civic (unless you happen to be going to the Canberra Centre), tonnes of public servants park in Barton/Parkes – for free – early in the morning, and then walk across the bridge. So, no where to park in Civic – because the ACT Govt are idiots and can’t fix something right in front of their noses – while it becomes harder and harder to get a park in Barton during the day when you really need one.

The solution? The ACT Gov should get moving on doing something about car parking in Civic. And whatever the conditions are (paid or whatever) – they should be the same in Civic as in Barton – so its fair for everyone and everyone can finally get a park and get to where they’re going!

Stupid opportunistic wedge politics by the ACT Government. Heaps of people don’t have access to a bus, and very, very few who do have access and choose not to use the bus will change their view by this measure. If I had access to a bus, I actually WOULD use it, but even when I lived 7kms from Civic, we had no bus, and there still isn’t one there.

I hope the Commonwealth tells our embarassing local government to go do something useful.

Growling Ferret8:18 pm 29 Aug 07

Well said VY – even if paid parking was introduced, due to other commitments (drop off wife at her work, child at childcare, post work sport 2 nights a week), there is absolutely no hope of me either cycling to work nor catching public transport.

When the local facilities are the same as the other paid parking town centres, and there is suitable public facilities such as shops, post office, food hall, cinema complex in the parliamentary triangle, then bring in paid parking.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt8:05 pm 29 Aug 07

Pay parking to encourage bus use is a load of arse. What about people like myself who do the drive to work in 3 stages? Stage 1 – drop the boy off at childcare. Stage 2 – drop the wife off at work. Stage 3 – drive myself to the office. How the hell will buses help this situation. But of course I’m the only person in Canberra who drops kids and/or spouse off on the way to work, so we don’t need to use 2 cars every day.

Light rail WILL work.

As long as the Federales pay for it.

The first leg should be built (and thus appelaing to the Feds) between parliament house, over to defence, the airport, brand depot, the new AFP HQ in the Majura Valley and then to Gungahlin. That for one would negate to build the 4 lane Majura Parkway. A green policy.

As long as we are sensible about the cost of between $15 to $20 million dollars per km based upon real world costs from Melbourne and Adelaide.


You are an idiot.

It costs a lot of money having all that undeveloped nature parks sitting around idle.

Imagine how much money we could make if we flogged of the lot and installed mean narrow streets on dingy little blocks.

Bus to work at least an hour in the morning, who knows on the way home if I work later than 5:00pm. Maybe spending some of the instant surplus on the buses…..

Cycle to and from work around 45 Minutes -(prefered option during spring and summer)

Car/Motorbike to work around 7:30am 20 minutes, from work 30 minutes.

Maybe federal intervention similar to what happened in Washington DC due to financial mis-management….they to want to take over everything at the moment…..

Vacuous, puerile, incognizant arguments, focused on the irrelevant… politician?

And before hingo weighs in – no I don’t ride on the road! In a city this bike friendly there’s no need. Just do me a favour and don’t judge us all by that stuck-up minority.

Another chirpy, sanctimonious cyclist.

I can ride to work in half the time it takes on the bus and only ten minutes longer than it takes in my car! It’s easier than you think, it’s fun, costs comparatively little, parking is free and plentiful, I smell fresh air instead of armpits, I stay fit and I avoid almost all road rage.

It’s an absolute no brainer for those that are able bodied – too bad we’re a nation of fat, lazy whingers, eh?! 🙂

If they do put in pay parking they ought to give huge concessions for car-pooling – like 3 for free! It’s a winner in several ways – parking, pollution, fuel, congestion etc etc etc.

Take a look at all those empty passenger seats on the way home tonight and prepare to be disgusted by this city’s lack of respect for it’s environment.

What if we tried to reach an agreement with the Commonwealth whereby all APS employees in the ACT get free workday travel on ACTION (funded by the Cwth based on actual use). This would encourage people onto public transport and possibly save the Cwth money through having to provide less parking.

Woody Mann-Caruso3:59 pm 29 Aug 07

(And when I choose to catch a bus, like I do most Wednesdays, it’s a total f*cking nightmare. Late, dangerously overcrowded, noisy, John Laws on the radio, speeding…)

Woody Mann-Caruso3:58 pm 29 Aug 07

It’s about time car users paid…(not to mention polluting the air).

I offset the greenhouse gases produced by my car by purchasing additional green energy from ActewAGL. I pay more in taxes than most people earn in a year, some of which is used to pay my share of wear and tear on roads. Why should I have to catch a bus?

…or an ACT Government worker.


Either you are a hippie, a stuck-up road hogging cyclist or some jerk who can’t get their license because they can’t drive for shit

Putting the prices up on a failing service is ridiculous.
Comment by sepi — 29 August, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

I thought that was the ACT Government’s motto for everything? We’re being hit up for more money through extra taxes and fees but I’m yet to see improved (or at least stable) services in any area.

Yep – busses are expensive, overcrowded, and do no trun often enough.

They need to plough some of their surplus budget funds into Action, make the service better, and then more people will use it.

Putting the prices up on a failing service is ridiculous. They may as well just levy a tax on pensioners.

Further down in the online story, it says something to the effect of “The committee also recomends raising bus fares from the current $3 for a single trip.”

So, for something approaching the same cost as pay parking, you get the inconvenience of riding (and standing around waiting for) a sub-standard bus service. And this is encouraging people onto public transport?

err…Kramer…isn’t that happening already? We call the Westfield Belco parking the “ABS House overflow car park”. I’m sure the Immigration mob would be similar.

As a parent with a need to get kiddies around for sport, music etc., I’m torn between having the convenience of a car and bitching about paying for parking and what I see a responsible govt should be doing to encourage environmentally/socially better ways of doing things ie discouraging where-ever possible the ease of bringing a car into the city.

I love Melbourne with it’s tram/rail network and the ease of getting around. Canberra with it’s similar wide avenues begs for a light-rail system.

As Maeliner says….we need some vision past the next election.

Near free public

The ANU is nowhere near City East. The new unilodge is in City West.
There is a pretty big multistorey carpark there.
Comment by caf — 29 August, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

Not government parking – means I have to pay ‘double’ when the gov car parks are filled by 8:30 as I pre-purchase a monthly parking ticket from ACT Gov…

51modelBloke1:55 pm 29 Aug 07

I stand my ground, this town ain’t big enough for ‘light rail’. I mean, where is it going to run to? Belconnen, City, Woden, Tuggeranong? The solution is a properly designed intertown network, terminating at each end as opposed to travelling round the boondocks, running every 5 minutes or so during the day, with feeder services to each town centre from the ‘burbs, NOW there is a novel idea, they could call it the 300 route. hmm, I’m having a sense of deja vu.

If this goes ahead you will never be able to get a park at Belconnen Mall, and all the surrounding govt agencies will suffer from reduced employee output as people leave the offfice every 3 hours to shuffle their car at the Mall.

Rego (and the associated road rescue levy) goes towards building and maintaining the roads (and scraping you off said road when you come undone). Why shouldn’t parking cost you extra?

Nice analogies guys, except bikes, parks, and pedestrian crossings all save the government money by reducing health costs and road deaths. Cars cost, and providing free parking costs further.

Gungahlin Al1:28 pm 29 Aug 07

Fair point Caf, unless what the full report says they are negotiating with the feds includes them keeping the profits (or part thereof) in return for handling all the policing.

So if I buy a horse, will I have to pay for the privilege of it taking up valuable space (not to mention polluting the air) ?

Heck, if I buy a pair of shoes, will I have to pay for the privilege of them taking up valuable space (not to mention carbon miles and the pollution from production) ?

captainwhorebags1:26 pm 29 Aug 07

GnT – bike paths aren’t free. It’s about time those freeloaders started paying for those, too.

Park facilities require maintaining. How about entry fees to all the green space in Canberra.

Pedestrian crossings require painting and at some, lighting/signals. Coin-op is the way to go there.

I could understand the rationale behind the government wanting to recoup expenses in providing new parking space, but this is a different matter. Rather than improving a service, the local council wants to make the alternative less palatable.

How about a free loop bus service connecting Civic, Russell, Barton and Parliament House? Get federal funding for it, coz it would be cheaper than building a multi-story carpark in the parliamentary triangle. Good for tourists, too.

We pay our taxes.

“rather than using punitive measures to encourage uptake”

Parking is not free. It costs someone to provide that space. So pay parking is not a punitive measure, it’s just charging people for the service they use.

It’s about time car users paid for the privilege of taking up valuable space (not to mention polluting the air).

This is the stupidest idea they’ve had in ages.

For starters Barton is one of those areas that is difficult to get to via Action bus being ‘not quite civic’. It is annoying to hang around civic interchange for 25 minutes to then catch a bus for about 5 minutes to Barton.

I think they should look at fixing up the interchanges, and perhaps patrolling them for safety, and people might be more likely to catch the bus. Why not put a nice new gorgeous interchange at the lake, in amongst their new coffee shops they say they are building.

Oh and unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, the revenue from the pay parking that the committee recommended the ACT lobby for would go to the Commonwealth as the owner of the carparks.

Gungahlin Al12:32 pm 29 Aug 07

West CTD. Not much chance of you coming back as a homing pigeon… 🙂

It seems a lot more about revenue than increasing bus patronage. How could INCREASING bus fares possibly be argued to lead to improved patronage??
Ironically this on the same day as another media release from them claiming that Canberra is NOT rapidly becoming the least affordable city in Australia, as many of us would believe:

The ANU is nowhere near City East. The new unilodge is in City West.

There is a pretty big multistorey carpark there.

I am sure if the ALP wins Federally they will bend-over-backwards to support Stanhope’s money grab.

Stanhope’s surplus is 10% of the estimated cost required to put in a light rail network according to the raisin’s (hargreaves) guess of a little while ago.

Offer a public company sole rights to run the network on condition of 2/3 funding and suddenly you are looking at 300mil and nearly 1/3 of the total funding required.

Light rail is not a dumb idea, it just requires people to think outside the boundaries of their elected term in office.

Talking of parking, now that the ANU has taken over about, oh, 60% of the parking at City East (? – anyway, near unilodge/Barry drive) to build their new residences, plus another car park to store the machines being used to build those residences – where are we meant to park at this end of town?

Stanhope has been going on about his 100mill+ surplus. Start there!

51modelBloke11:19 am 29 Aug 07

blatent revenue raising opportunism if you ask me, and don’t get me started on ‘light rail’, this isn’t bloody NY you know who the flock is going to pay for that?

you can raise revenue on a cost recovery basis Fnaah…

“raise revenue from public transport”

… isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Either it’s a public service, or it’s a business. Fund it so it works, or scrap it and find another way to get people from A to B (light rail anyone?)

If the parking is in NCA areas, it doesn’t come under the ACT Government’s jurisdiction.



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