Page 913 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015
Tuesday as well, although I may stand to be corrected on that. So if there are all of these pressing unanswered questions, why isn’t he pursuing them? Why isn’t he taking every opportunity available to him? The fact is that he is not, and that is because his actions cannot match his rhetoric.
We will not be supporting this motion today because the Liberals’ actions do not match their rhetoric. This Assembly and this government have been very supportive of providing additional opportunities for scrutiny to take place by members of this place when it comes to this project. We have a standing referral to the Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services. We have the normal opportunities through the annual reports process, through the estimates process, through questions in this place, and those avenues, quite frankly, are not being fully exercised by the opposition already. There is clearly no case to do even more when they are not even matching their rhetoric with their actions currently.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (11.09): I thank Mr Coe for yet again bringing the issue of light rail to the Assembly because it is both his favourite topic and mine as well. The light rail project is progressing very well. Members would have seen this week the announcement of two shortlisted consortia who are bidding to build and operate the project.
The consortia contain some of the world’s most experienced companies in light rail projects, including operators, architects and engineers. This is a very exciting time for Canberra. We are making excellent progress on a world-class project that will change our city for the better and set us up for a future of quality public transport, urban improvement, and do so with the all-important framework of environmental sustainability.
In addition to this, of course, are the significant social and economic benefits that come with the project. Canberra will be a light rail city and our residents and visitors will enjoy all of the benefits that come with that: better transport options, better planning, public transport that can use renewable energy, the attraction of tourists and events, increased use of public transport, investment and development, jobs and options for extending the light rail to further parts of Canberra.
It is not a very long time until construction begins. Next year is the expected start date. A couple of years after that and the light rail will be operational. I think many residents will be surprised at just how sleek and modern new light rail technology is. People use the term “tram”, which perhaps conjures up images of rattling Melbourne trams or San Francisco streetcars. The realisation of capital metro will make the vision clear to a lot of people in the community who possibly have not imagined just yet what light rail and the first light rail corridor will look like.
We have talked before about the business case and its patronage estimates. Those estimates are certainly done with great care. The professionals who do those calculations are careful not to succumb to optimism bias. The estimates are still good