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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2785 ..

MR STEEL: The DA, as I said, has been notified and it has been up on the ACT planning and land authority website for people to view the plans and give feedback. Officers from Transport Canberra and City Services have been in touch directly with residents as well and have undertaken a range of different conversations with those who reside very nearby to the project, in Hawker in particular. A range of signage was put up to alert people about the process that has been underway. I know that a lot of people have seen those signs and have been engaged in the process. Some people have been in touch with me directly, and I have put those through to Transport Canberra and City Services, to have a direct conversation with those people about any issues that have been raised through the process.

Light rail—stage 2 economic analysis

MR HANSON: 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 the light rail stage 2A project. The report noted that the economic analysis excluded the cost of a federal government requirement for wire-free operation of light rail vehicles. Minister, on what date did you become aware of the requirement for wire-free operation of light rail vehicles, given it was first reported in the Canberra Times on 23 July 2019?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. At the time that the business case was developed and put before government it was not an explicit requirement of the project to have wire-free running and other elements. Those were recommended by a joint parliamentary inquiry, but they were just a recommendation of the inquiry. It was noted by the Auditor General that it was not an explicit requirement at the time, and that was why it was not included in the business case. However, the government did know that there was a potential for that, and later on the commonwealth government contributed $132.5 million to the project, which significantly contributed to those extra costs which are estimated to be in the realm of 17 per cent additional costs.

A lot has moved on since the light rail stage 2A business case was considered in 2019. A lot has moved on, and we know that there is now an explicit requirement for those things. The commonwealth has fronted up with the money and we are getting on with the project and getting it delivered. This is a project that we are committed to, to maximise the benefits of bringing it to Woden. We are looking forward to getting on with that work and realising the benefits that have been outlined.

MR HANSON: Why did you decide to continue excluding these costs for the economic analysis calculation, once you knew, as the Chief Minister has acknowledged, in 2019, that “one of the biggest determinants of the cost will be the extent of the wire free operation”?

MR STEEL: It was not an explicit requirement at that stage. But I can say that since then we have undertaken further discussions with the National Capital Authority about what requirements they will put on the project. It has since been determined through a formal process that they would require those things. So we will be including

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