I rise this evening to speak about duplicating Gundaroo Drive, which I have been working hard to see prioritised in the 2015-16 ACT Budget.

Gundaroo Drive is a bottleneck that frustrates many Gungahlin residents on a daily basis.

It is the scene of frequent rear-end accidents, and is a particular bottleneck between Mirrabei Drive and Gungahlin Drive.

Duplicating this road will take a lot of pressure off surrounding suburbs, particularly in the morning peak period and on Saturday mornings, which always gets worse over the winter sport season.

The design work was completed a couple of years ago, and I understand the duplication can get underway as soon as funding becomes available.

That’s why I am pushing to see it funded in the 2015-16 Budget.

I also know that Gungahlin residents want this road duplicated as a priority.

I know because they told me in the community survey conducted by the Gungahlin Community Council at the end of last year, and they told me at my first GCC meeting as an MLA on the 11th of February this year.

The message was so clear I asked the meeting whether they would like me to start a petition on duplicating Gundaroo Drive, and they said yes.

And that is how the community petition started; to show just how much community support there is for this project.

I’ve held many mobile offices around the Town Centre since becoming an MLA, and people have lined up to sign my petition.

People have told me duplicating Gundaroo Drive would greatly improve the local community and make it easier to get around.

And over the last four months I’ve collected more than 1,000 signatures for my petition to duplicate Gundaroo Drive.

I was proud to be able to present the petition to the Minister for Roads, Mick Gentleman, this morning.

And I would especially like to thank the Minister for listening to the Gungahlin community about local roads.

His leadership in this vital part of our transport system is good for all of Canberra.

More than most, Mr Gentleman knows the importance of roads. That is why he also recently announced a third lane for Gungahlin Drive southbound to ease pressure on Gungahlin commuters in morning the peak period.

With more than 1,000 signatures, I believe it’s clear that duplicating Gundaroo Drive should get underway in the ACT 2015-16 Budget.

As a Gungahlin resident I experience this road congestion first-hand, and I can tell you, the daily commute is getting longer and longer.

I’m proud to be part of the ACT Labor Government that has a long term plan to make our roads and public transport network more sustainable by: maintaining high quality roads; funding an efficient bus system; investing in walking and cycling infrastructure; and starting vital work on a light rail network.

While our roads are essential, and we must ensure they meet the needs of communities as they grow and change, we cannot keep building more and more roads.

For our longer term future we must start to invest in new forms of transport.

A fully integrated public transport system will deliver better options for people commuting across our city.

And Capital Metro will go a long way to addressing some of the congestion issues on our roads.

But we still need to address some of the structural issues with our roads as soon as possible.

It’s also no secret that Gungahlin is the fastest growing area in Australia and the total population of the Gungahlin region is expected to reach 55,450 by 2019.

This means that congestion on our roads will get worse; it’s already costing us more than $100 million every year.

These are some of the issues I regularly raise with the Minister and the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate as the local Gungahlin member.

And I hope I have made it clear Madame Speaker, that Gungahlin residents would like the ACT Government’s Budget to address some of these issues.

The duplication of Gundaroo Drive should be a priority, with the design work already funded and complete.

And the first stage of this project should be the duplication between Mirrabei Drive and Gungahlin Drive – a particular bottleneck.

I also acknowledge the number of people who have told me they would like to see the design work funded for Horse Park Drive.

This is a vital piece of road infrastructure for the Gungahlin region.

With the completion of Majura Parkway, this road will have even heavier use. Design of the duplication also needs to get underway as soon as possible.

Of course the ACT Government must deliver a responsible Budget and invest evenly across our city and support communities at different times in their development.

I would like to place on the record my hope that there will be a commitment to Gungahlin’s road network in the 2015-16 ACT Budget.

And finally I would like to thank the one-thousand-and-thirty-three (1,033) people who signed the petition for their support. As I said in my first speech to the Assembly “I commit to be an MLA who listens, advocates, explains and leads”.

This is one of the key priorities for the Gungahlin community and I hope I have done right by them in listening, advocating and leading in the Assembly on this important project.