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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 November 2014) . . Page.. 4123 ..

(1) notes regarding the Full Business Case for light rail released on 31 October 2014:

(a) the benefit-cost ratio has fallen from the 2012 estimate of 2.34 to just 1.2;

(b) the business case does not include the cost of finance which is expected to be at least $70 million per year;

(c) the ACT Government may adopt “high risk work components not within the potential control of the delivery partner” regarding the relocation of utilities;

(d) the cost of parking after light rail is operational is not disclosed;

(2) according to former ACT Treasury official, Dr David Hughes:

(a) the business case understates the likely cost and overstates the benefits;

(b) of the $984 million in published benefits, $579 million are unsubstantiated increases in land values and productivity; and

(c) the transport benefits to cost ratio is just 0.5; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to cancel the project.

The government may simply brand this motion as the latest annoyance in their efforts to foist light rail onto Canberrans. But for the opposition and for thousands of Canberrans, this capital metro project is not the right priority for Canberra and is iconic of a government making extraordinarily expensive partisan decisions regarding transport infrastructure.

This government is doing a disservice to light rail. Rail enthusiasts everywhere should be disappointed with the way in which the Labor-Greens government is tarnishing the reputation of light rail. Light rail can work in certain circumstances. However, the circumstances here and now are not conducive to the efficient delivery of rail from Gungahlin to the city.

I have said before that I believe a route from Belconnen past UC, Canberra stadium, CIT Bruce, Calvary, ANU, the city, the convention centre, CIT Reid, Russell and the airport might be a better starting point. It would have several employment hubs in addition to the city and Russell, four education institutions, numerous destinations such as the stadium, hospital, convention centre and airport. Does this route stack up? Who knows? Maybe it does; maybe it does not. But it simply was not considered.

If this government were serious about light rail and genuinely committed to sustainability and viability, it should have assessed every option and then chosen the best starting route, the best staging and the best mode. Instead the government has blindly, ignorantly and foolishly used politics to choose a route and mode, despite the limited advice they had which suggested that bus rapid transit was considerably better.

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