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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1553 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

But to say, in advance of any indication of infrastructure or cost, "Yes, we'll do a study and, irrespective of the outcomes, we will commit ourselves to implementing that policy" is asking bit much. To say, "Here's a study that might deliver the result that light rail is a wonderful thing and that you can achieve it at a cost of $100 million and, irrespective of the bottom line or the budget situation we face from time to time, we here and now commit to it," is something that no government is ever going to do.

I imagine that was the context in which Mr Corbell said, "I cannot say on behalf of the cabinet, irrespective of the outcomes of this study, 'Don't worry about it; we'll find the money; we'll do it.'" Governments cannot operate like that.

MRS CROSS: Chief Minister, all I would like to know from you is: does the government have a commitment to light rail beyond looking into it? Your answer indicates to me that you are looking into it and, depending on what comes out of it, "We will see." My question is: if the feasibility studies show that it is a viable option, will your government commit to it? That is all I want to know.

MR SPEAKER: That is a bit hypothetical.

MR STANHOPE: Let's not bother having an inquiry. Let's just say, "That's a good idea; let's do it."

Mr Wood: That's what they used to do.

Mr Corbell: That's what they used to do: Bruce Stadium, futsal stadium, Hall/Kinlyside.

MR STANHOPE: That is the Bruce Stadium approach, I suppose. That is the Hall/Kinlyside approach; you are quite right. Here is a great idea. It might cost the community $12 million. Get that envelope out. Let's do a couple of sums. What is it going to cost? It is going to cost $12 million. Ah! Let's do it. What a ripper-$12 million! Two years later, what is it? It is $86 million spent on a $12 million project-$86 million on a project that was not going to cost the ACT taxpayers a cent. $89 million dollars later, broken laws later, breached Financial Management Act later, breached self-government act later-although I am pleased to see that Mrs Carnell thinks that she can rehabilitate herself, taking over New South Wales, moving in, eye to the main chance-

Mrs Cross: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: we are going around the world here. I would just like an answer from the Chief Minister to my light rail question if he thinks he can give me one.

MR STANHOPE: I am just amazed at the suggestion that we announce a commitment now to the outcome of an inquiry that has not yet been held. For goodness sake, what sort of process is that? You have got a government that is prepared to commit to a detailed investigation of some sustainable transport initiatives-

Mr Wood: Something they never did in the six years they were in office.

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