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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 1 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 287..

Funny that—they are not interested in scrutiny when it is about building more roads in this town. That project should be open to an equal level of scrutiny because it is actually as much money.

Nevertheless, I am quite happy to vote today for expanded scrutiny of the light rail project. I am looking forward to the continued progress of the capital metro project and further involvement of the Canberra community as well as the Canberra Liberal Party. I hope that through this process they will start to acknowledge the many benefits of light rail and they will at least be willing to look at the project on its merits and with an open mind.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.25): The opposition will not be supporting the amendment put forward by Minister Corbell supported in lockstep by Mr Rattenbury, of course. As I said in my original speech, I am not going to get into the merits of light rail; this is about scrutiny. But, of course, Minister Corbell and Minister Rattenbury could not resist and instead went into the merits of light rail. Well, if you do that search as Minister Rattenbury suggested—"Coe and light rail"—some stories come up: "Libs query route, need for $600m light rail"; "Canberra light rail funded by taxes, says Alistair Coe"; "Light rail agency hired consultants"; "ACT capital metro light rail spin to cost $1m"; "Come light rail or not, Northbourne trees a risk"; "Canberra light rail plan: 'Not enough traffic' says Infrastructure Australia"; "Heavy pay for light rail leader"; and it goes on and on.

I have no problem putting my name to these stories. I do not know what these furphies are that I am putting my name to, all these shambolic stories that are going to bring distress to Canberra households. The fact is there is a $614 million light rail project. We have a government that has chosen the route before they have done the master plan. How do we know the city to Gungahlin is the most economic route to do first? I argue we do not know that and I argue that it is not the most economic route to do first, and I will be presenting some information on that later on.

We need more scrutiny of this project, and it is very disappointing that those opposite do not agree to a basic level of scrutiny that would be consistent with just about every public works committee in the country—that is, a hearing every three months. We are not going to get that, and that is very disappointing.

If the light rail team is as equipped as what the government say, if the communications person on a $200,000 package is as good as what they say, if the head of light rail on a $380,000 package is as good as what they say, they should be able to field our questions easily. If not, that is the very reason the questions need to be asked. It is disappointing those opposite are not going to support this, but we will continue to do all we can to ensure we get appropriate scrutiny for this expenditure.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

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