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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2864 ..

The motion that is before us today has nothing to do with party politics, nothing to do with it. This motion is about ensuring that this enormous project is as transparent as Mr Steel says that it is, is as transparent as it can possibly be, and that the Canberra public get the best possible result at the end of it. That is what this motion is about. At the end of the day, we are all heading, dare I say it, to the same tram stop. We are all going to the same tram stop. All we want is the best possible result at the end of the trip.

This Assembly has established a select committee looking into our COVID response and I would point out that it is difficult to get a handle on what the total cost of our COVID response is in the ACT because it is broken up into so many different parts. But it is likely to be in the region of the same figures that we are talking about for stage 2 of light rail.

At this stage of the game, we do not know what the final cost is of stage 2 of light rail. We know that it is going to be at least $2 billion. The fact that the government is being less than forthcoming with any information on that bottom line since the economic update given just before the election, I can only assume, means we must be inching closer to $3 billion.

We certainly did not find out much more in the budget yesterday because it is all included in this big figure over here and we do not know what is connected to light rail. We just do not know. Mr Steel asserts that he is as transparent as a sheet of glass. I guess today we find out if that is the case.

My question to the Labor members is this: is this project genuinely open and transparent or do you have things to hide? If you are being genuinely open and transparent, then you will be voting yes to this motion. If you vote no, I think it is fair that people should ask, “What is it that you have got to hide? What is it that you do not want us to know?” Quite seriously, that will be the question.

My question to the Greens members is this: just how important is this project to you? How much of your heart and soul is invested into getting this right? We, on this side, are absolutely invested in getting the right outcome. Are you? A vote for this motion is an indication that you are absolutely invested in getting this right. Who is with me? Let us get this done.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.26): I always welcome the opportunity to talk about light rail, particularly delivering light rail to Woden, and the benefits of having a mass transit system here in Canberra. The ACT government has shown an unparalleled level of transparency in relation to both of the light rail projects, stage 1 and stage 2, in releasing the business cases for the projects; and, of course, we have also released information, including the unredacted business case, to the Auditor-General so that he could undertake a performance audit of the business case which has been undertaken. Three recommendations have been provided and the ACT government will be responding within the required time frame to that report; and, of course, we always take the recommendations of the Auditor-General’s reports seriously.

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