Page 4260 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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MS GALLAGHER: This year’s budget allocation of $18.7 million for the establishment of the Capital Metro Agency and the development of design and delivery studies will help make sure this is what happens from the start. The light rail integration study is a recent example of this work rolling out. It is assessing options around integration with other modes, options of park and ride, and demand factors for the new service.

We have been questioned by the opposition and some in the media about why we would offer competitive salaries for positions in Capital Metro. It is simply that we want the best people for the job, and we want to adequately remunerate them. We want the best possible advice to government so that our decisions can be made with the full knowledge of their consequences. We also want the best communication with the community, so that its views are heard throughout the process and people are properly informed during construction.

I saw the analogy drawn between the head of the communications area and a doctor in the hospital. I think we have over 300 registrars at the hospital, and that was the salary link made. These are doctors at the beginning of their careers; they are junior doctors in the hospital that do not have the full range of responsibilities that comes with being a staff specialist. So I think there is a bit of an unfair contrast pointed to around priorities there—over 300 junior doctors, or doctors in the middle part of their training, compared to one director of communications for a major project like this.

In yesterday’s MPI, we spoke at length about the success of the centenary year and the legacies it will leave. Mr Smyth said we got lucky with the arboretum. I think that was him almost conceding that the arboretum actually is a great idea. Ten years on—10 years on—there is almost a grudging acceptance. I do not think we have seen Mr Hanson up at the arboretum yet, have we? Have we seen you up there?

Mr Hanson: I have been up there about a dozen times.

MS GALLAGHER: Good to see you.

Mr Hanson: And I have spoken in this place to say that we support it.

MS GALLAGHER: Good, good.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, this is not a conversation across the chamber.

MS GALLAGHER: Sorry; I did encourage him. No, I do not remember all your speeches, Mr Hanson. In fact, I do a lot to repress them and not listen to them. But it is good to see that support—belated support—for the massive success that the arboretum has been.

The fact is that the government backed the arboretum all the way, and the decisions of 10 years ago have been vindicated. I think the same might happen with light rail: we will be opposed for the duration of it; we will be questioned consistently; the project

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