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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 March 2015) . . Page.. 716 ..

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why was there no progress in the review of debt management announced by then Chief Minister Stanhope in 2007?

MR BARR: Right; so we are back to the original element of the question. Just because you have a link word that is “debt” does not mean you can conflate two particular issues.

Mr Coe: It’s the link word for all Labor governments too, isn’t it?

Mr Hanson: “Debt” and “deficit”; you know those words well.

MR BARR: All I will say is that the federal Treasurer is having an excellent time, isn’t he, at this point, in seeking to respond to issues of debt and deficit, and in fact has been adding to it. So having regard to Mr Coe’s interjection, and indeed Mr Hanson’s interjection, perhaps they could look a little closer to home. But in relation to the issues that have been raised by the Auditor-General, the government will of course respond, and there are a number of actions underway in different areas of the territory government. I remind members of my previous answer in relation to the Revenue Office, where additional resources have been provided in recent budgets in order to assist in debt recovery.

Transport—light rail

MR COE: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Capital Metro. Minister, it was reported last week that the Western Australian government is reconsidering its MAX light rail project. The project was already on hold because of budgetary pressures, but the Western Australian government will now actively consider a bus system as a cheaper way of providing the same public transport benefit.

This situation is comparable to Canberra because, since the ACT government's decision to favour light rail over buses, our budget deficit has increased by over $400 million.

The Western Australian Minister for Transport, Dean Nalder, said last week that preliminary analysis prepared by his department suggested that buses could deliver the same service level but be provided for half the cost. Mr Nalder said:

This is a rational Government going through its processes and making sure that we deliver the best possible solutions for our community.

Minister, given that the ACT government’s deficit is, on a per capita basis, four times higher than Western Australia’s, why are we still proceeding with the capital metro light rail project?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Coe for his question. It is not for me to comment on the specifics of the circumstances in Western Australia; that is obviously a decision for them. However, I note that people like Professor Peter Newman, the emeritus professor of sustainability from the University of Western Australia, have strongly

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