Page 2144 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.24 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Transport—light rail

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, the cost of the light rail project has been cited as $614 million by the government. The cost of the Cotter Dam was cited repeatedly by the government as $145 million, but this blew out by 280 per cent to over $400 million. If light rail blows out by the same amount, it will end up costing over $1.7 billion. Minister, what assurances can you give that this project will be delivered for $614 million and not blow out like every other project this government controls, from the dam to the GDE?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hanson for his question. The government continues to refine costings in relation to the light rail project, as Mr Hanson would know. The cost projections have been continually revised downwards over the last six to 12 months, and that is as a result of more detailed analysis occurring. I can certainly give the assurance that the government will be continuing to refine its analysis to ensure that the cost is as accurate as possible. The current cost assessment includes a significant contingency for unknown factors. That is in the order of around 15 to 20 per cent of the total cost estimate that has been provided to date. I expect that cost estimate to continue to be revised as we continue to create a more detailed analysis of all the factors that will come into play in the cost of this very important project.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, has a cost-benefit analysis been done for this project? If so, what was the outcome? If not, why not?

MR CORBELL: Very detailed assessments have been done to date, both engineering and in terms of benefit-cost ratio. They have been undertaken to inform our submissions to Infrastructure Australia. Further assessments around benefit-cost ratio will continue as we continue to develop this project.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, what analysis has been done regarding knock-on effects of the construction such as disruption to traffic, water, gas, electricity and communication services?

MR CORBELL: These are all issues that will continue to be investigated. Initial investigations have commenced into a range of these factors such as the changes to traffic arrangements along the corridor that will be necessary as a result of the construction of a light rail route. At the same time, identifying and understanding the risks associated with utilities such as water, gas, electricity and telecommunications

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