Page 3082 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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It will be interesting to see who wins this fight within the government, whether it is the economic rationalists, whether it is the people looking at the evidence or whether it is the ideologues. We should probably run a bit of a book on it, as to whether we can pick a date when they are going to—

Mr Coe: March 2014.

MR HANSON: Mr Coe picks March 2014; he thinks that is when they will backflip. It is like what happened with the office block; it took them about a year to backflip on that one. I do not know if there are any other people wanting to have a bit of a go at it. I think it might take them a bit longer before they have a backflip and realise that this is bad policy.

Mr Coe: They will blame Abbott.

MR HANSON: They will blame Tony Abbott. They will blame somebody. It will not be their fault; it never is. It is a bit like the government office building—it is never their fault for their bungling. Anyway, I will watch with interest.

We will continue—and I commend Mr Coe for his work on this in particular—to do what we should do as an opposition, and that is to do the analysis, to do the business case that the government refuses to do, and look at the evidence, not just the politics.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.47): Madam Speaker, let us be very clear. The Labor Party went to the last election with a specific policy to develop light rail along the transport corridor between Gungahlin and the city. Labor chose this initiative because, after over a decade—a decade, Madam Speaker—of analysis, investigations and reports into rapid transport for our city, it was time to make a decision, to make a decision which was the best long-term choice for our city.

Labor chose light rail for our city. We chose light rail because Canberrans are concerned about congestion. They are frustrated by it. They know that it has a direct impact on their quality of life, their productivity, their time with family and friends. We chose light rail because Canberrans are concerned about costs—the cost of running a two, three or even four-car household, the cost of petrol, the cost of insurance, the cost of registration. We chose light rail because we know Canberrans want better choices, better alternatives that provide convenient, reliable and fast public transport.

We chose light rail because Canberrans are also concerned about housing. Canberrans want more housing choices close to where they work, where they shop, and where they use cultural facilities, social facilities, community services and professional services. They want more affordable housing. And we chose light rail because Canberrans are concerned about their city’s impact on our natural environment. They want smarter, greener transport which reduces pollution, noise and greenhouse gas pollutions. They want transport which is sustainable.

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