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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2501 ..


Light rail—stage 1 construction safety

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, I refer to the ABC article titled “Canberra light rail construction was ‘reckless’, non-compliant and in danger of flooding, explosion”. Why did the ACT government enforce strict time pressures on construction workers knowing that it could result in a risk to the safety of workers?

MR STEEL: I am pleased to have the opportunity to reiterate that our light rail system is safe, and documents released under freedom of information show that the Transport Canberra project team, regulators and Canberra Metro itself were all focused on identifying potential issues prior to operations commencing. They demonstrate that the contract and regulations worked as intended.

Documents and photos released under FOI were mid-build and do not represent the end state of the project; it is like taking a photo in the middle of a surgery. Things that needed to be fixed were fixed. Where further verification and analysis were required they were undertaken. Canberra Metro undertook a level of verification activities which far exceeded what is typical for similar projects elsewhere in the country, including extensive CCTVing of conduits and the location of built assets.

MRS JONES: Minister, will you admit that the unrealistic time pressures and time constraints enforced by the government led to the reckless and dangerous construction of light rail stage 1?

MR STEEL: No.

MISS C BURCH: Minister, can you guarantee that the construction of light rail stage 1 was compliant with all safety regulations?

MR STEEL: It would not have been certified if it were not safe.

Courts—funding

MR HANSON: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, it was revealed during estimates that reforms to the safer families levy will actually result in defunding positions in the Legal Aid Commission, court clerk positions and court translation positions. Attorney-General, why have you made these cuts to essential front-line domestic violence services?

MADAM SPEAKER: You are taking it, Ms Berry?

MS BERRY: Yes, Madam Speaker. The family safety levy is my responsibility so I will respond to Mr Hanson’s question. I refer him to the responses that I gave and that the Attorney-General gave during estimates hearings. In particular, I would like to say that the family safety levy was always intended to provide opportunities for innovation to respond to domestic and family violence in the ACT. This is a complex and complicated issue and it requires ongoing, challenging innovation to address it as


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