Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . .
On that basis, I have moved the amendment. I think it sums up what Mr Coe is trying to get out, because the release of the business case on 31 October will provide answers to a lot of the information that is being sought. The annual availability payment will be disclosed when it is possible to disclose it. But right now it does not exist and so it is not possible to disclose it. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.58): We are happy to wrap up the debate as well, if that is the will of the Assembly. Of course, the opposition will not be supporting Mr Rattenbury's amendment. It is interesting that he should be the person moving this amendment rather than the Minister for Capital Metro. It goes of course to: what is the genesis of capital metro in Canberra? Who is in fact the person who is driving this entire project? Who is it that has twisted the Chief Minister's arm into spending up to a billion dollars in capital expenditure to simply deliver what has already been delivered by the bus system?
It is interesting hearing Mr Corbell talk about the Canberra Times. He bags out the article today with regard to bus patronage. His case is that it is not 8,000 people who are riding on the buses at the moment; it is 10,000. But in actual fact what he is saying is that the number of people that are going to be riding the tram, because it is a tram and not a bus, is even fewer.
The minister's defence of light rail is: all the people who are riding on the bus are going to switch across to the tram. If all the people that are currently riding the bus are simply going to move over to the tram, in effect you are no better off. You have not got cars off the road. The emissions will in fact be worse. The emissions will be worse as a result of what the government is doing here. The minister's desperate defence of light rail is that there are 10,100 people using the bus and in 2021 there will be 13,000 people riding the tram.
The entire case for light rail, according to the minister's desperate defence of capital metro, is: we are going to have 3,000 people more on public transport down Northbourne Avenue in a city of 365,000. That is his desperate defence of spending up to a billion dollars, the biggest capital works project ever in the ACT. All he can do is try to inflate the bus numbers to make it more plausible that 13,000 people are going to ride the tram. It is a ridiculous defence.
In actual fact I thought he would like the number 8,000 because then he could say nearly double the number of people who are currently riding the bus are going to be riding the tram. That would show some vision. It would show that perhaps this business case is going to be built on something transformational. But no, Minister Corbell's defence is that the same people who are riding a bus will switch across to the tram and he can tick the box when it comes to a government with Shane Rattenbury as a minister.
It is all very well for the government to say that they have only just made a decision on this. However, the Chief Minister and Minister Rattenbury came out of the press conference in November 2012 triumphantly saying that they were going to deliver light rail. For months Minister Corbell has been talking up light rail as an inevitability, and now he claims they have only just made a decision based on the business case.
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