Page 2845 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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Treasurer said that he is going to build it at any cost. In a committee hearing, when asked, “Is there any cost that is too great for light rail?” he said, “No.”

So it is quite clear that the mob opposite are going to do it regardless of the cost. That means that the decisions that are going to be made in this Assembly over the next three days are going to lock this Canberra community into the biggest infrastructure project in Canberra’s history and that is just phase one. Remember that this is a government that talks about a multi-phase approach to light rail. This is not just the next decade or the line between Gungahlin and Civic. This is multi-billions of dollars that we are going to lock into when we vote on this budget. They are asking us to do that without all the information and with the evidence that has been provided that basically says, “Do not do it.”

That is not the Canberra Liberals arguing that. That is Infrastructure Australia. That is a pretty authoritative body that said, “No, we do not like your homework. Go away and do it again.” That is what we are saying: “Show us the evidence”. We are not saying in this budget today that we are not supporting light rail. We are saying what Infrastructure Australia are saying, and that is: show us more detail; show us more evidence; show us the cost-benefit analysis. Get them out on the table before you ask this community to sign up to hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, as you roll out light rail.

The other issue is that of ACTEW. We have raised some substantive concerns with the whole process with regard to ACTEW in this Assembly over the last month. But what has become apparent is that there is a significant hole in this budget, possibly $25 million a year, that is simply missing because the government has not updated the budget. A simple deferral of the debate would enable ACTEW to do that and provide the necessary information in the budget. But again, the government does not want to do that. It is ironic that in the middle of wage negotiations where Katy Gallagher is threatening job losses for the public service, is trying to negotiate a pay deal that is potentially below CPI, she is trying to do that without the full impact of the budget being exposed.

The opposition has argued against big infrastructure projects before and has argued that we have not had all the evidence before on other matters. I would take you all back to the great big government office building. Members will recall that one. That was touted by the other side of politics as a must-have We were told that all the evidence was there, that we had all the information we needed, that all of it was ready to go. They spent $5 million of our taxpayers’ money on that. But they forgot to give us the evidence. It was only when the opposition said, “Show us the evidence; show us the cost-benefit analysis,” and when we went through this in detail when we finally did get that—I would like to point out that that was on a single A4 piece of paper in about font 14—that we actually found it did not stack up—

Mr Coe: Double spaced.

MR HANSON: Double-spaced, Mr Coe reminds me. It did not stack up and the whole thing fell over, did it not? It was very embarrassing for those opposite who backed it then, just like they do for light rail and tax reform now when they say, “This

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