Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 June 2022) . . Page.. 1756 ..
signing with a delivery partner for this important precursor project. A further works approval application will follow for stage 2A to the National Capital Authority. Where does Mr Parton’s crusade on this end? We are committed to bringing light rail to Woden. Stage 2A is the first essential step in taking it all the way there.
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Cain): Members!
MR STEEL: The project does have some standalone merits, like connecting the ANU—
Mr Parton interjecting—
Ms Clay: On a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker, I am really trying to listen to the debate and I find I cannot hear it.
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Yes, I have called two of the members. We would not like to go to the next stage. Mr Steel.
MR STEEL: We know that they definitely do not want to go to the next stage, Mr Assistant Speaker. The project does have some important standalone merits for 2A, like connecting the ANU, businesses and homes in the west of the city and the new Acton waterfront to the rest of Civic and all the way up to Gungahlin. We recognise that the main benefits for the project come from extending the north-south transport spine all the way to Woden. The business case was only focused on stage 2A. We recognise that there are a range of challenges with taking light rail all the way to Woden, including both technical issues and approvals processes to work through with the NCA and the new federal government for 2B.
We want to get cracking on building the line as soon as we can. That is why it is so important that we get on with stage 2A, while we undertake the design and the works approvals for 2B at the same time. Mr Parton knows this. The Canberra Liberals know this. They seem to think that if they can undermine stage 2A enough it will never get to Woden, which is really their true objective. They should just be upfront and honest with Canberrans that they do not support light rail, like the deputy leader over there a few years ago, when he said he would do everything in his power to stop its development. Just recently he has been actively pushing to undermine the project online, publicly speculating about whether the Liberals would have a higher primary vote if they supported or opposed the project.
Our government acknowledges the important role that independent agencies like the Auditor-General play in providing oversight of the ACT’s governance and administration. I thank the Auditor-General again for their report into the stage 2A business case, which the government has already formally responded to in this place. As my amendment notes, we will certainly take on board all of the advice and the views the Auditor-General have provided in developing future business cases for stage 2B of light rail to Woden and any future stages of Canberra’s light rail network.