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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2780 ..

Mr Hanson: Point of order on relevance, Madam Speaker. The question was about how much the economic cost was. If he does not know, he should just say so.

MADAM SPEAKER: I think he is responding appropriately to the question.

MR STEEL: In further extension of my answer, as I mentioned in the answer I gave to Dr Paterson’s question, we are currently in negotiation with the delivery partner for stage 2A but also going out for an expression of interest and tender process for raising London Circuit, which will also be a significant project. Once we have the delivery partner on board, we can understand the constructability elements and what the program of work will look like, and we can work with them to make sure that we minimise that disruption.

So, no, it will not be possible to understand exactly what will happen during the project until we have those delivery partners on board, but we are already engaging with business at the earliest opportunity, because that is the feedback that they gave us on stage 1—that we needed to do that as soon as possible—to make sure that we can listen to them and their ideas as well as working out a whole range of solutions to minimise the disruption as we build this project. We are committed to building this project. The commonwealth are committed. They have chipped in $132.5 million. It sounds a lot like the Liberals are not committed. (Time expired.)

Light rail—stage 2 economic analysis

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, I refer to the Auditor-General’s report on the economic analysis of light rail stage 2A. The report noted that Major Projects Canberra did not seek or receive spreadsheets or an economic model demonstrating the validity of the benefits. The lack of a quality assurance process led the Auditor-General to say that it “impairs Major Projects Canberra’s ability to demonstrate the accuracy and appropriateness of the economic appraisal of light rail stage 2A”. Minister, why are you proceeding with contracts for light rail stage 2A when its benefits are neither understood, documented nor validated?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. There were spreadsheets provided, and not the specific spreadsheets that the Auditor-General was referring to, from the consultants, who are very well regarded, who provided the economic analysis for the stage 2A business case which, as I said, has been undertaken based on Infrastructure Australia guidelines. The audit was limited in scope to the project’s economic appraisal but did not review the merits of the government’s decision-making processes in relation to light rail.

The ACT government understands the benefits of light rail. The reason that we do is because we have built stage 1 of light rail and we have seen the significant benefits that have been provided—the transport benefits, with high levels of patronage, and the city shaping benefits, with more people choosing to work and live around the light rail route. The significant regeneration that has occurred continues to occur.

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