Page 3839 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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The ACT Greens support delivering light rail stage 2 to Woden and beyond. The ACT government is committed to delivering light rail stage 2 to Woden, and we are really happy to keep working together to make sure that that happens. The ACT Greens will be supporting Minister Steel’s amendment.

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.46): I commend Mr Parton for moving this motion today because he is continuing to ask some pretty sensible questions, questions that the Canberra community have been asking, questions that the Canberra Liberals have been asking and questions that any government with the privilege and responsibility for making huge decisions that impact our community should be up-front and transparent about.

This ACT Labor-Greens government has decided that, regardless of what the business case says, regardless of what the cost-benefit analysis is, they will build the tram to Woden. We had it confirmed in the annual reports hearings from the minister and we had it confirmed again today. They will not and cannot share the justification with Canberrans and they will not and cannot tell us when the tram will arrive in Woden. They will not and cannot make it clear how much the light rail will cost Canberra taxpayers and they will not and cannot tell us how long we will all be paying for it, both in interest on borrowings and the ongoing payments to the public-private partnership for decades to come. This is a government that is afraid to come clean. The big question is: why? Why will they not tell us?

What is clear, however, is that this government cannot pay for this tram project without cutting essential government services. We know they have already pulled crucial funding out of our health system. Well done to the Labor-Greens government on achieving the longest emergency department wait times in the country. Earlier this week we saw yet another Labor-Greens election promise broken—this one to increase funding for and services of endoscopies. Elective surgery wait times continue to blow out. The Canberra Hospital expansion is a decade overdue. Cutting critical funding for health services has consequences and it is our hardworking frontline medical professionals and Canberrans, when they need those health services the most, that are paying the price, all because Labor and the Greens have diverted critical funding for health to help pay for the tram.

It is the same story with the education system. Results have been declining. School infrastructure has been neglected. Some schools have been declared unsafe workplaces. Fixing the chronic shortage of teachers that we have in our schools is something that our hardworking teachers have been calling for years. Despite this, the Labor-Greens government continues to prioritise the tram over education and the wellbeing of our students and our teachers.

The tram is cold comfort for the more than 3,000 Canberrans on the public housing wait list. Three thousand Canberrans are on the public housing wait list. For years now Labor and the Greens have been pulling funding out of housing. How is it possible that we now have fewer public housing dwellings than a decade ago, despite the fact that our population has grown by 100,000 in the same period?

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