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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2544 ..

Light rail stage 1—review

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (4.59): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) the original business case for Light Rail Stage 1 promised to deliver a net economic benefit to the ACT community;

(b) both the former and current Ministers for Transport have promised a comprehensive review following six months of the operation of light rail; and

(c) most recently, Minister Steel made this commitment during Assembly debate on 13 February 2019 when he stated the ACT Government would provide a report back to the Assembly on the comprehensive lessons learnt process within six months of the start of light rail services; and

(2) calls on the Government to:

(a) report back to the Assembly on the scope, terms of reference and methodology of this review no later than 30 September 2019;

(b) provide clear advice within the report on how stakeholders can provide input to the review, including local businesses impacted by Light Rail; and

(c) commit to making the report publicly available by tabling the final document at the next scheduled sitting of the Assembly.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak again today on this important matter. As a member for Yerrabi and a former small business owner, I feel very passionate about the impact that light rail has had on businesses in my electorate. It has been a long three years for the Gungahlin region. Let us not forget that the first sod of this project was turned on 12 July 2016. For three years the Canberra Liberals have been advocating for local businesses on this issue, and for three years this government has tried to fob businesses off. I am optimistic that following a concerted campaign by me and the many voices from the community, perhaps this government and the new minister for transport are starting to listen.

To give the background for those who have not been paying attention to the plight of local businesses, I formerly raised this matter in a motion in June 2018. This motion requested the government to conduct an independent review on the businesses impacted by light rail construction. For too long I had heard from local businesses how much the construction of this major project was impacting on their bottom line, livelihood and wellbeing.

We have to remember that most small businesses are run by families, are funded by savings and second mortgages, and are easily affected by external forces outside their control. Whilst businesses can seek expert advice to deal with some of those forces and can implement strategies to stay afloat, poorly planned and executed public projects are very difficult for them to manage.

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