Page 3838 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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$86 million worth of proposals on Tuesday. There was no business case for that and there was no call for a cost-benefit analysis. The Canberra Liberals are happy to let that go through unscrutinised.

The ACT government has committed to around $1 billion of road projects in the pipeline or recently completed, but the Canberra Liberals do not call for scrutiny on that and they do not call for a business case. They only ask for scrutiny on public transport. When provided with as much information as can be sensibly published during a commercial negotiation, they simply and repeatedly say that it is not enough. I am really looking forward to equal scrutiny of all of Canberra’s major projects, including our roads and other transport projects, and I am really interested to see if they hold all of our projects to that same standard.

Canberra, like other cities and other state governments, must build modern and sustainable transport infrastructure. We must also build all of our other infrastructure, and we need to maintain all of our other services. There is a lot going on in Canberra and, of course, we need all of these services. It is not an either/or question. We do not choose. A growing city with ageing infrastructure needs all of these things, and we have to get on and do all of them.

Long-term infrastructure is a long-term investment in the future of our city. Our city has grown by almost 100,000 people since we first announced light rail stage 1. We grew by around 11,400 per year between 2016 and 2021. We cannot let short-term thinking stop our city from making the long-term decisions we know we need to make. If we do not make these decisions, we will lose quality of life for current and future Canberrans and we will also lose the chance to make a real change to our climate emissions.

Light rail is unique here. It is not just transport infrastructure; it is also key planning infrastructure. The light rail corridor is allowing people to choose a different lifestyle. It is allowing people to choose where they live and to either live car-free or move from a two or three-car house to a one-car house because they are choosing to live in that transit corridor. That is exactly the kind of planning and development that the IPCC is calling for, for the sake of the climate.

We have just had COP27. The results of what has been achieved are pretty mixed, but I did not hear anybody stand up and call for more urban sprawl or for more fossil fuel based transport. We understand what we need to do, and we need to keep doing it. This is what climate action actually looks like. It means making choices and following through with those choices. An integrated Canberra-wide light rail network, along with frequent zero emissions buses, is the gold standard public transport network that Canberra needs and deserves.

I appreciate the minister’s amendments that signpost our next steps and our previous stages on light rail. I am pleased to see a commitment to transparency and I understand why we have the timing on the release of that information. I invite anyone who is interested in this topic to sit down and have a look at those stages and at what information is coming out and when. It is really clearly set out and there are very good reasons. It is made out pretty well.

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