Page 160 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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Question so resolved in the affirmative

Amendment agreed to.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.55): I am not surprised that my original motion will not be getting up. Of course it is not based on the merits, because we did not hear any arguments on the merits. All we heard was broad concepts; keep it vague; keep it general; do not deal with the issue of whether or not spending $150 million for a three-minute saving is a good idea. We have not heard any arguments against; all we have seen is an amendment from Mr Corbell that essentially praises the government and says that, because his sustainable transport plan says that it might be a good idea, the busway is a good idea. I can guarantee that the only way this busway will go ahead any time in the near future is if Mr Corbell becomes the next Treasurer. This busway will not go ahead in any other circumstance.

If the current Treasurer, Ted Quinlan, were to stay beyond March, I am sure it would not go ahead. If the Chief Minister gets the Treasury job, it is pretty unlikely. But if the planning minister were to get this through, the best option and the most likely option would be for the planning minister to take on the treasury portfolio. We look forward to the decision on that.

This project will not go ahead, in all seriousness. It is very unlikely now that it will go ahead. That is a good thing for the people of Canberra. That is $150 million that would have been wasted. As I said earlier, it is $150 million, conservatively speaking. We have seen the blow-outs in other busways. We have seen the blow-out on the Gungahlin Drive extension. So this is at least $150 million that the people of the ACT will, hopefully, be spared if Simon Corbell does not get his way. What it essentially would have been is a $150 million monument. No-one else seems to support this busway. We have not heard any of Mr Corbell’s colleagues in this place today get up and defend him and defend it, and say, “This is a good idea; this will get lots more people on buses. It really will be good for Canberra.” No-one will speak to it.

Mr Gentleman: We voted for it.

MR SESELJA: Mr Gentleman says, “We voted for it.” But no-one would actually get up and say, “This is a good idea.” We didn’t hear it from his cabinet colleagues or his backbench colleagues. That speaks volumes about the fact that he is out on a limb on this. The fact is that he went out expecting it to go ahead soon. What we have seen is back-pedalling from his colleagues, back-pedalling from his Treasurer and back-pedalling from the Chief Minister on this.

The people of Canberra will be grateful for that back-pedalling, because this was a bad idea. This was an idea that would not take the future of transport in Canberra forward. This was not an idea that would have got lots of people using public transport. This was simply an idea that would have become a white elephant, a monument to Simon Corbell. Instead of a $150 million monument, we have got a $6 million monument, a $6 million waste of money on the planning for a project that is not going to go ahead.

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