Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3561 ..
The budget provides funds for the disruption task force. I certainly doubt whether this body will waive a magic wand to avoid years of commuter frustration, business impairment and unimaginable cost. But it will enable the minister to say, “We consulted. We ticked the box. We talked to people.” “We consulted the prisoner before we executed him. We asked him!” I just think that Canberra deserves better than such callous treatment by this government.
The proponents for high standards of government attach a premium to transparency, accountability and efficient and effective use of public money. These principles ought to apply to the budget estimates for light rail stage 2. We know that the ACT Auditor-General has cast much doubt over the efficient and effective use of public funding for stage 2A. I think it is pretty clear that we do have a transparency problem. By this, I mean we have little insight into the real cost of stage 2B, which involves getting the tram over the lake somehow and out to Woden. I am expecting that when this government shows its hand on this issue it will take the public’s breath away. In this regard it was disappointing to see that this budget did not cast any further light on what we, the community, might be up for. (Second speaking period taken.)
I would have expected that there would be further light shined on exactly what we, the community, will be up for.
We must not forget that at some stage we will probably have to face up to rectification of structural faults in the current light rail vehicles. I know the minister asserts that that is not the case. Based on the minister’s non-answer to our questions on whether one of those light rail vehicles had had the floor removed to inspect for cracks, I can only assume that has not occurred. I am not quite sure why. There are a number of scenarios that we could paint here as to why. I dread to think of the cost involved in replacing light rail services while those carriages are out of action, should that occur.
With regard to the project as a whole, the government is super keen for us never to get a full understanding of what the project has cost us. I think that the government needs to provide details of the capital and the operational expenditure. We know that the expenditure on stage 2 includes the $93 million contract to AECOM to obtain approvals and to manage stage 2. We know that there is more than $9 million in this year’s budget to raise London Circuit. But there are some unexplained items in the budget papers, such as capital injections, which leads us to wonder whether some light rail expenditure is being disguised.
We would like to see full details of the capital and operational expenditure to date on light rail by year, including Capital Metro. This is what people ask me: “What are the actual ACT government costs, such as those of the Capital Metro Agency, consultants, all of the relocation services and all of the associated things?” The Canberra Liberals will not be opposing this line of spending, but I think it is very clear that what we see in the budget in this space leaves us with many more questions than it provides answers.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (10.16): I speak in my capacity as ACT Greens spokesperson for transport, active travel and the circular economy. I think back to my