Page 3192 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022
“Can you give me an estimate?” “No, I can’t even give you that. I can’t tell you.” “And when will it be ready?” “I don’t know. I’ve got no idea. I haven’t got a single clue. I am not going to tell you. Just hand me a wad of money up-front and I’ll blow it and then hand me more money.”
That is exactly how the government is operating with public money. And, again, we get no real insight into this in the budget. The government know how much the light rail will cost but they are not sharing it with Canberrans. They know when they will start the build on the various sections and they know when the first tram is likely to arrive at those two various stages.
This is not a budget that provides confidence that the government knows what it is doing. What it does say is that the government is prepared to rack up even more debt for Canberrans now and into the future, whenever that might be, and demonstrates the contempt that the government has for Canberrans and their money.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.56): I am pleased to support the major projects part of the budget debate today. The ACT government is getting on with the job of delivering our infrastructure projects and ensuring that the Canberra of the future, 2030 and beyond, continues to be one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Light rail to Woden is coming, I am very pleased to inform the Assembly. That is obvious, because work has already started right outside the door of the Assembly, particularly on the raising London Circuit project and also the early works associated with utilities removal. With the ongoing funding provided in the budget, we are continuing to work on that major project, which is so important for future transport connections and particularly mass transit connections in our city. It builds on the work that we have done on stage 1 of the project, which has been very successful, came in under budget and has seen higher than expected patronage.
Last week I joined the Chief Minister to start the construction on raising London Circuit, which is a project that is critical for the future of our southern part of the CBD and for the future of the light rail connection. It is part of delivering light rail to Woden. It involves changing the current split-level intersection design, which is an overpass-underpass configuration, into a much more pedestrian and cycle-friendly intersection and raising the road level up to the same level as Commonwealth Avenue so that it provides a platform for the connection and extension of our light rail spine down south—firstly to Commonwealth Park as part of stage 2A and then down to Woden as part of stage 2B. Around 60,000 cubic metres of fill will be used to raise London Circuit by six metres and change the current configuration, which has a six-metre high wall that blocks people from moving to and from the southern part of our CDB. This is going to be a significant project to improve the vibrancy, sustainability and connectivity of our city.
The works include road improvements and provide new pedestrian footpath links, including a new signalised pedestrian crossing on Edinburgh Avenue, and major landscaping routes around the project. Works are already underway on the traffic light installation at the junction of Northbourne Avenue and Vernon Circle—that northern end—and a new bus lane is being installed there to provide a slip lane down into City