Page 2737 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013

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Transport—light rail

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, Infrastructure Australia said in response to the ACT government’s submission:

The case for favouring light rail over bus rapid transit has not been … made, especially when the submission itself points to the strong economic performance of a bus rapid transit option.

What economic analysis has been undertaken regarding the ACT government’s light rail project that supports construction of light rail over other modes?

MR CORBELL: Of course IA reached that conclusion because the government’s submission did not ask them to choose between light rail or bus rapid transit. The submission that we made to IA instead asked them to support us in further developing the business case in relation to both options. That is what the IA submission does.

In relation to Mr Coe’s specific question—which is what economic analysis has been undertaken—quite a bit, actually. Quite a lot. It is worth highlighting that the report by URS, which was the City to Gungahlin transit corridor: concept design report, concluded that while BRT is a cost-effective option, LRT generates the best overall outcome for Canberra. So, to answer Mr Coe’s question directly, that is the type of analysis that has been undertaken.

Do the Liberals truly think they are going to drive more residential development close to the city centre along key transport corridors if people still get the same old service when it comes to buses? Or are we going to be able to change the way people view public transport in our city and drive an increased and enhanced level of investment in our city along that corridor through a new light rail network? This government knows what those choices are and what the best outcome for our city is, and there is no doubt that light rail is the best choice for our city in the long term. That is why the government has made the commitment to build this project.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, what expressions of interest from the private sector have been given to the government for investing, not simply constructing but investing, in the form of a public-private partnership?

MR CORBELL: There have been a number of expressions of interest in both construction and investment in this project. It is not appropriate for me to disclose the commercial nature of those proposals, nor indeed the identity of those proposals at this time. The government is still at an early stage in the development of the governance and engagement process that we will put in place with the private sector. But the government has received a number of unsolicited proposals from the private sector and we are currently in the process of resolving how we will engage with those parties in a fair manner and in a manner that has all due regard to the appropriate probity and governance arrangements that would be needed for those circumstances.

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