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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 6 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 2366..


MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary.

MR SESELJA: Minister, will you waive the rates for those participants in the OwnPlace scheme who have been forced to wait over a year whilst paying rates where this has been brought to your attention?

MR BARR: I refer the member to my previous answer.

Transport—rail

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development and concerns the progress of rail projects for and in the ACT. Minister, as you know, a Canberra to Sydney high speed rail route would bring enormous benefit to our city. When compared to other potential sections of a possible east coast network, a Canberra to Sydney high speed rail route would also be the most financially viable with lower building costs and high patronage. Is it the ACT government's position that Canberra to Sydney should be the first stage that is built of any high speed rail east coast network?

MR CORBELL: Yes.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, what efforts has the government made to progress the argument that Canberra to Sydney should be the first stage built of any high-speed rail east coast network, including explicitly arguing this case to the federal government?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. Carriage of this matter is largely held in the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate, but given the Chief Minister's absence I will try to answer the question.

The government is represented through representation of officials, with commonwealth officials and officials from other state governments, in relation to this project. Our engagement and consultation with the commonwealth and its officials on this issue are close and ongoing. The government continues to reiterate its position that we see the link to Canberra as a vital part of any high-speed rail project that the commonwealth will commit to. And obviously we indicate that we believe a connection to Canberra should be the first stage of any project.

There is a range of options open to the commonwealth through the feasibility assessment that it is looking at. One is what is known as a through-station where Canberra has a station as part of a link between Canberra and Melbourne. The other is where Canberra acts as a terminus station, effectively on a spur from the main Sydney-Melbourne line. Both of these options are under close consideration through the process that the commonwealth minister, Mr Albanese, has announced. We remain closely engaged with the commonwealth and its officials in terms of their consideration of this matter and the views of the territory and indeed the other states with an interest in it.


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