Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 786 ..
Motion (by Mr Hargreaves) proposed:
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
Belconnen to Civic busway
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.57): I want to take the opportunity this evening to say a few words about the busway and the death thereof. Last week, on 23 April, there was an exclusive article in the Canberra Times that the busway had officially been pronounced dead by Mr Hargreaves and a $115 million proposal to build a busway between Civic and Belconnen had been scrapped. We of the opposition certainly welcome that decision. We think that some sanity has at last prevailed in relation to this project.
We have been hearing a lot today about governance and the importance of good governance. I want to go through some of the busway saga for the benefit of members of the Assembly. Mr Corbell announced the busway some time ago—I believe it was early in 2004—and since then we have had mixed messages coming from the government. It appeared that Simon Corbell was the only one in the government who was genuinely committed to it. There is a big question mark over whether cabinet initially approved expenditure on the busway. If the cabinet had previously approved expenditure on the busway, it has actually made a pronouncement that the busway will not go ahead.
I want to take members through some of the different messages we have had. In November 2005, we had Mr Corbell saying, “Of course we are continuing to work on dedicated public transport infrastructure such as the proposed busway between Belconnen and Civic. When asked whether the busway would go ahead, Mr Quinlan said in January 2006, “I would doubt that.” When asked in March 2006 whether the busway would go ahead, Mr Corbell said, “The route options chosen for further assessment have been selected after an exhaustive selection process involving community consultation and enduring investigations and evaluations of environmental issues by public transport consultants, noise specialists and expert wildlife and botanical panels.”
Mr Hargreaves was asked in May 2006, “Will the busway go ahead?” “Not in my lifetime,” was the response. The Chief Minister was asked in May 2006 whether the busway would go ahead. He said, “The government approved, I think a couple of years ago, detailed planning studies into a dedicated busway from Belconnen to the city. Those studies are proceeding and we will complete those studies and through those studies we will reserve land for a potential future dedicated busway.” In April 2007, Mr Hargreaves scrapped the project.
It needs to be put on the record that that was a good decision, but the question remains: why, when blind Freddy could see that and when John Hargreaves was able to say back in May 2006 that it would proceed over his dead body, Simon Corbell and this government could not see it and this government went on spending millions of