THE ACT Government last week said it will consider an extension of the light rail network to the Russell defence precinct as part of a second stage of light rail in Canberra after the next election.
In the meantime, the Government will progress with delivering its 2012 election commitment to build the City to Gungahlin stage of the network, with work to start this year and be complete in 2018-19.
"Just as we sought and were given a mandate for the first stage of the network, we will seek a second mandate at the 2016 ACT election for the next stage," Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell said in a joint statement.
"It is encouraging that now both sides of Federal politics back urban rail project and with the Commonwealth the major landowner, employer and beneficiary of a future stage of light rail we will continue to engage with the Commonwealth Government.
"Taking into consideration the light rail master planning work and community consultation that the government is currently undertaking we will make further announcements closer to the election about the next stage of the light rail network under a re-elected Labor government."
Mr Corbell said Russell would be strongly considered, alongside other options, in the next stage of Canberra's city-wide light rail network.
"Our preferred proponent, the Canberra Metro consortium, has provided an excellent bid for stage one from City to Gungahlin and the government is acting now to secure this excellent deal for the people of Canberra," he said.
"We have always said the City to Gungahlin was just the first stage of a city-wide light rail network and the work that has been done to develop a future extension from City to Russell confirmed that.
"Canberra deserves a world-class public transport system and a Labor government will take the next step in making that happen by building on the base we have put in place with stage one and progressively extending the system across Canberra."
In line with the 2012 election commitment, contracts are due to be completed for stage one in May or June with significant early infrastructure works beginning immediately.
"ACT Labor took stage one from Gungahlin to City to the last election with a plan to secure a Public Private Partnership to start construction by 2016," Mr Corbell said.
"Having delivered on that election commitment we will be in a position to make a new commitment to extend light rail to even more Canberrans.
"While stage one tackles the ACT's most congested corridor it is has always just been the first stage of a light rail network that will service all of Canberra. Before the next election, we will detail the next stage of the light rail network."
Last month, it was announced that the first stage of the light rail network will be delivered by the Canberra Metro consortium, which comprises Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, Deutsche Bahn International and CAF.