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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 April 2011) . . Page.. 1433 ..


Ms Bresnan, I think you would be aware that, when a government, a business, an organisation or a household sits down to determine a budget, we all go through a process and weigh up the pros and cons on the basis of a number of considerations. Some of them are driven by economic issues, some of them by social issues, some of them by environmental factors, some of them by a range of other considerations that do not fit neatly with any of those descriptions. It is no different for a government.

We are mindful, in relation to some road works, that there is and will be an economic impact if we do not invest but there is also a very significant social aspect to decision making around, for instance, infrastructure involving roads. Of course we are mindful of the role of fuel—oil—in our emissions and we are striving to do what we can to deal with that.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, how do you reconcile your answers with the government’s submission on light rail, which says the lack of a sustainable transport system is holding back our ability to meet wider economic goals?

MR STANHOPE: I think they are perfectly consistent. I do not see any inconsistency in decisions or statements in relation to light rail and studies that are done in relation to that. I think in an ideal world we would probably all embrace it, but that ideal world would be a world in which we had ready and easy access to a couple of billion dollars which we just do not happen to have. I see no inconsistency at all in the statement that I made or that you quote in relation to light rail.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, does the government still support the arguments in its light rail submission which say that the predominance of car and car infrastructure, and planning decisions that continue this dominance, are “imposing significant costs on the ACT economy”?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, there is a significant cost in terms of the up-front investment in infrastructure. We have spent an enormous amount of money on roads just over the last couple of years in terms of roads delivered, roads planned and roads anticipated. There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of road infrastructure just completed, under construction or anticipated. It is fair to say that, at one level—and I am taking a stab at this—I would think, with the exception of our current major capital investment in health infrastructure, that road infrastructure would be the next most costly capital investment that we make. So, yes, roads cost.

Ms Hunter, there are a range of other costs not invested as an up-front cost in the infrastructure, but there are major social costs in not providing an adequate, fair and equitable road network that is there for all residents across the city. There is a major social impact if residents do not have good roads and good road infrastructure in


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