Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2545 ..
I was very pleased to see that the former transport minister provided her support in June of last year, and the motion was successful. The next step saw the Canberra Business Chamber appointed to conduct the review. Now fast-forward to September 2018. The report from this assessment was tabled in the Assembly. Whilst I was disappointed with some aspects of the report, I was pleased that the lessons learned reflected what we had heard directly from businesses. To be honest, most of this stuff was common sense.
Madam Speaker, despite having spent three years in this place, I still cannot understand why this government spends so much time and money doing reviews on things we already know. Worse still, they take these reports and put them on the shelf, not actually following through or delivering on the contents.
Still, the lessons were clear and the impacts have been proven with evidence. I took the report back to the many business owners that I have been working with to get their feedback. Sadly, it was almost a case of too little, too late, as the light rail was due to start in December 2018. When we realised that light rail would be delayed to April 2019, I knew I had to take further action. In good faith I could not leave local businesses to face another six months of construction without some kind of support.
The next step was to move a second motion in February 2019. That called on the government to act on the lessons learned. Whilst providing compensation was a key driver, I was also aiming to get some of the practical support that was listed in the lessons learned. With the damage from light rail still hurting, many in the business community felt that the government just did not care about their contribution. There seemed to be no interest in their survival.
This second motion was an opportunity for the government to set the record straight. Sadly, this was not as successful. Instead, the government used the opportunity to spruik the benefits of light rail. Living in Yerrabi, travelling to the city and talking to my constituents, I can see that many people do, in fact, feel that light rail has had a positive impact on their lives. And from our perspective, light rail is here. We want to see it become economically viable and useful to the community.
But every story has two sides, and for every person who sees this project in a good light we have many stories to the contrary. This motion is not the time to debate these issues fully, but there are issues like construction and roadworks in residential areas, the new transport network forcing people onto light rail without adequate bus connection, the lack of a stop for businesses in Mitchell, and issues with safety and compliance across the corridor. Madam Speaker, let us not pretend that these issues are resolved now that light rail is operational. Take a drive down Northbourne Avenue or Flemington Road. Visit the Gungahlin town centre. These places are still construction sites. The impact continues for business owners.
Yes, I was disappointed with the outcome in February and went back out to local businesses to talk about the next steps. Noting that during the February debate the government committed to a further and more comprehensive six-month review, I thought a logical step was to ask, “What will that entail?” To do this, I submitted a