Page 1450 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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It also underlines the transformative effect this kind of system can have. I think anyone who has been to the Gold Coast over the last 15 to 20 years will know that, like Canberra, it was a place that had a very heavy reliance on the private motor car in particular. To see that change in behaviour on the Gold Coast in response to the introduction of light rail reflects the sorts of opportunities that exist in Canberra. That is important to note because the patronage work that has been done has not accounted for that sort of very significant change in passenger behaviour. If anything, our patronage estimations are, I think, very much on the conservative side.

Of course, there is much more that can be said. No doubt we will continue to have this discussion in this place, but I will leave it at those few remarks today. I will not be voting to support this motion. It is a motion that seeks to stall progress in our city. It seeks to stall a project that is all about investing in the future of our city and building a resilient future for our city and its people.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.47): To conclude, I thank members for their contributions to this extremely important debate. This is, after all, the biggest project in the history of self-government. It deserves to seek the endorsement of the ACT community. This project does not have a genesis in planning; it does not have a genesis in transport; it does not have a genesis in economics—it has a political genesis. This is quite stark when you read today’s Canberra Times and are reminded of a quote from Minister Corbell a year before the 2012 election, from September 2011, reproduced in an article by Graham Downie:

The Greens once again adopt a completely unrealistic, unstrategic and unconsidered approach to the real challenges of transport in this city, all because they want to jump on the wagon—forgive the pun—of rail.

All because they want to jump on the wagon of rail. This is what the Minister for Capital Metro said about light rail a year before the election, and he now claims to have a mandate on this issue! On 21 September in 2011 he is telling the Canberra community that light rail is unrealistic, unstrategic, unconsidered and not worth the money. This is a person who claims to have a mandate to spend $783 million on a project when only about three per cent of Canberra’s population will live within walking distance of a tram stop. Ninety-seven per cent of Canberra’s population will not live within walking distance of a tram stop. They are still going to be dependent on cars, cycling and buses. This is hardly a transformational project. Unfortunately, the only thing it will transform is the territory’s finances.

It is interesting that Minister Corbell should come into this place with what he thinks is an open and shut case regarding the ACT Labor Party’s commitment to light rail prior to the 2012 election. In contrast to Minister Corbell’s spin, if you go to the 2012 policy commitment as costed by ACT Treasury you see the intention of the election commitment—$30 million to progress design and engineering studies as well as financial analysis to get light rail ready for a private sector partnership. In terms of the costing methodology, this is the quote from the ACT government:

Treasury considers the costing is reasonable to fund concept and preliminary design, economic and financial analysis, and master planning. The difference between the costs announced (and further clarified by the Party) and Treasury costing is an inclusion of cost of funds.

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