Page 355 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 February 2010
major capital works projects, the government is much better placed than those opposite to deliver such projects. We thank members for the opportunity to once again advise the Assembly of the government’s proven record in the management and delivery of infrastructure projects. We have delivered record capital works programs during our term in government—a record that will be once again surpassed this year.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.18): It is not surprising that we have heard the same speech from Mr Barr again. I have only got a few minutes. There are a couple of things to respond to. Firstly, he reads the same speech regardless. Secondly, he talks about policy development when all I have seen from Mr Barr in terms of policy development is that he copies our policies. In a moment he will have an opportunity to tell us, when he responds to the planning bill. But I want to talk about our policy on Infrastructure Canberra.
But the other thing that he focuses on—and this is what the ACT Labor Party focuses on so much—is how much they spend. They see how many taxpayer dollars they spend as a virtue rather than what they deliver on behalf of taxpayers. By that logic, the Cotter Dam will have been an extraordinary success when it comes in at triple the budgeted cost because they will have delivered $360 million worth of capital works rather than just the original $120 million worth of capital works. They have passed the capital works spend on Cotter Dam by $240 million. It will be a record spend on a dam in the ACT. And won’t that be a proud moment! It demonstrates the farcical nature of that kind of argument: “We have spent this much.”
People are asking the question on the GDE, where once again they delivered a record amount of spending on a road in the ACT: what do they get for it? They got a one-lane road which should have been a two-lane road. And now they are getting further traffic delays. So that is part of the legacy. But the Labor Party will sell as a virtue spending more and getting less. That is unfortunately what we heard from Mr Barr. It needs to be seen in that context.
In relation to our alternatives, we are putting forward Infrastructure Canberra and I think it is very important to outline some of what is in Infrastructure Canberra and why it is an important reform. Firstly, industry has been long calling for structural reforms in relation to the delivery of infrastructure in the ACT. Every year they spend money, they underspend and they do not deliver those projects. We have seen the blowouts—it has been well covered by Mr Hanson, Mrs Dunne and others—in relation to capital works.
How do we do that better? How do we have targeted infrastructure delivery? How do we improve our procurements processes—all of the things that go to getting bang for our buck—so that instead of saying how much they have spent, they can say, the government can say, how much they have done and how much they are planning for the future? We need an infrastructure plan. It establishes an infrastructure plan.
It also puts in place structural reforms to see the ACT government encouraged and forced to think about the long term. That has been the problem. The problem under this government is that they think short term when it comes to infrastructure. We saw it with the refusal to build the dam for years. They were thinking short term. And then