Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . .
MR COE: I have a question to the Chief Minister. I refer to a recent Canberra Times survey that showed that 59 per cent of people who participated opposed the capital metro project. You stated:
I accept that the project needs a lot more explaining. We have to continue to talk to people about the benefits of the project.
You added that the government would continue to sell the project to voters, industry and potential investors. Chief Minister, how much will the government spend over the next two years trying to sell this project to voters, industry and potential investors?
MS GALLAGHER: The government has not taken any decision about allocation of an advertising campaign, if that is what Mr Coe is alluding to. The comments I made in the Canberra Times related to me, largely, and to other members of the government continuing to talk with the ACT community about the project and about the benefits that this project will deliver to the city and across the city. That is what that comment that Mr Coe is quoting referred to.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Chief Minister, why does the ACT government need to spend any money advertising the light rail project to Canberrans?
MS GALLAGHER: As Mr Coe would know, there is a legislative framework for government advertising that has been agreed to by this place. I imagine that by agreeing to it there is an acknowledgment that government needs at times to advertise and communicate with the broader ACT community. I can assure Mr Coe that any campaign that may be commissioned to support the significant change that light rail and, indeed, the broader transport for Canberra message may require will fully adhere to the requirements of the act.
I do not think it is unusual, and I think we can look at the border security "turn back the boats" campaign and how many millions of dollars are being spent on that selling a particular message. It is not unusual for governments to use government advertising when particular policy decisions have been taken. My own view is that if it is reasonable, if it fulfils the requirement of the government agencies advertising act and there is justification for an advertising campaign across any area of government, that is an important part of the work the government does.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Chief Minister, is the reason that the Productivity Commission and Infrastructure Australia do not support this project because it has been poorly explained by you or because it is actually a poor use of taxpayers' money?
MS GALLAGHER: I did not catch the last bit but I get the gist. I do not believe that either the Productivity Commission or Infrastructure Australia have seen the final
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