Page 1958 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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(d) provide the ACT public with a detailed report on the cost benefit study findings and forward budget projections; and

(e) report back to this Assembly by 30 November of this year on progress made with the cost benefit assessment and associated recommendations.

Let us talk about the tram because we love talking about the tram, Madam Speaker. I think it is really important that we are talking about it today, budget day 2023, because when the budget is laid on the table later today, there will not be much that we can see of the tram project, and that is for a number of reasons. One of them is that this government, despite talking a big talk on this subject, are absolutely dragging the chain on it. They say that they are getting on with it, but they are moving at glacial speed.

I must say that I look forward at some stage during the debate to seeing the amendment from Mr Steel, but I am yet to do so at this stage. There will not be much to see in regard to the bottom line at the end of the forward estimates because they will keep kicking it down the line. How anyone can possibly believe that we can, as a small city, spend well over $3 billion on stage 2 of the tram project and that that level of spend will not heavily impact the bottom line is ludicrous.

Furthermore, we are talking about stage 2 of a project which, in theory, will have four, five or six stages. At the end of it all, the final figure will be monumental. As we hurtle towards another election in the city next year, the biggest single difference between the two sides is this issue. It is the biggest single difference. “2B or not 2B” is the question, and I think that, as every week goes by, more and more Canberrans are arriving at the conclusion that the answer is no.

My motion calls upon the government to do what the people of my electorate—and other electorates, but I spend a lot of time talking to people in Tuggeranong—want them to do; that is, press pause on the pursuit of at least stage 2B of this white elephant right now, to just come clean with exactly where we are at, and to just come clean with the numbers.

As we get further and further into this term, it is certainly becoming more and more apparent that the early suggestions of just when this project was going to get to Woden were never, ever going to be fulfilled. It was not all that long ago that the Chief Minister stated publicly that the tram would be in Woden by 2025, and we know that there is as much chance of that occurring as there is of—I do not know—the West Coast Eagles winning the AFL premiership this year.

In terms of official advice from the government on these matters—and that is what it gets down to—there is really not much on offer. We just heard the minister saying, “Trust us because we’re getting on with it.” And that is about it. I know that this is the signature project and I know that this is the thing that Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury will dine out on forever, after their retirement. But right now the details are not really forthcoming.

This government are not keen to lay out the numbers because they know the numbers do not stack up. One of the clearest indications of that fact—and I mentioned it


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