Page 3636 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022
upgrades are about road safety. We have seen the road toll rising here in the ACT.
We have seen the impact that it has on individuals and on families and on the whole community. But they also have to pay for it with increased travel times.
Mr Steel has made some fascinating comments about road funding. For the past six years he has been carping about the lack of infrastructure spending from the former Liberal government. He has been doing a bit of here today. I have heard him in this chamber, I have heard him in the media, and it has been reported to me from out on the streets, suggesting that the feds need to cough up more; they need to spend more on roads and infrastructure.
He welcomed the $85.9 million when it was announced. He was all smiles. It is my understanding that, when it comes to the Boboyan Road money, the Steel office encouraged a number of rural landholders to either start petitions or write to the federal government requesting the funding that was given as a part of this package. Six months ago this funding was desperately important, according to Mr Steel, and now it is pork-barrelling. How does that work? You guys were so critical of what you described as the lack of infrastructure spending from the Liberal government. But when they commit to anything it is pork-barrelling. Is the Monaro Highway upgrade pork-barrelling? Is there even a little bit of bacon, just a sliver, maybe even like shortcut bacon? Is there any pork in that?
I have spoken to Mr Seselja about the discussions between the two governments in regard to this spending. I talked to him about the assertions from Mr Steel that the south-west corridor package had very few deliverables. He pointed out to me that it was a flexible package for the ACT government. He indicated that discussions had taken place about the growing population in Molonglo, about what pressure this was putting on the parkway and the Glenloch Interchange.
I have jotted down notes from our conversation. He said that when it comes to Molonglo, both levels of government agreed that: “This is the growth area. This is where we have got growing traffic pressure and this is what we have to address.” He indicated to me that it was a very similar process to the early stages of the Monaro Highway process. It was a very similar process to the one that has led to the Monaro Highway upgrades.
Mr Seselja said to me that if this was such a bad decision then it is remarkable that there was no pushback from Mr Steel. There was none. He said to me that, in all of the discussions that he had been involved with on this funding, there was not a peep from Mr Steel or anyone from ACT government. He said that, granted, most of his conversations with Mr Steel were actually at press conferences, but he did recall one Zoom meeting and he said there was no mention. If this is so porky, if this is not what the government wanted to do, why was it not raised? Why did someone from the ACT government not suggest that somehow these funding decisions were misplaced?
I also find it interesting that when it comes to the commencement of construction of light rail stage 2A, Mr Steel has on two occasions today in this chamber—and he has done it on a number of occasions elsewhere—indicated that it has commenced because we have started to raise London Circuit. When we did the business case we