Page 1687 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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millions of dollars to tear up a contract for a project that will deliver $1 billion in economic benefits to the territory, a project that will deliver more than 3,500 jobs in the construction phase and a project that will help transform our city.

But it is not just the federal Liberals raising concerns about the Canberra Liberals’ policy. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has also voiced its concern for the infrastructure investment environment here in the ACT and nationally, stating that the opposition’s desire to stop the project could unnerve international investors. It is worried about the Canberra Liberals’ position.

Shortlisted consortia for the capital metro project include companies from Germany, Japan, Spain and Britain. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Brendan Lyon said:

While we respect the Opposition’s resistance to this project, it is very important that politicians don’t debase the infrastructure program with discussions around sovereign risk.

In an opinion piece published in the Canberra Times on 20 April 2015, Mr Lyon went on to say:

Canberra Liberals have ended up on the wrong side of the light rail debate because they have let their opposition to the project morph quickly into active support for sovereign risk.

Australia has a hard-earned reputation as a stable and safe investment destination. Successive governments and oppositions in all jurisdictions across the country have been committed to promoting Australia as a smart, modern and efficient economy by recognising and respecting our valuable international brand. Senior political leaders from any Australian jurisdiction speak of precedents for cancelling contracts at the entire nation’s peril. The Canberra Liberals’ plan would cost Canberra its reputation as a good place for private investment in public projects—projects like a national convention centre. They should heed the words of their federal and state colleagues as well as independent organisations such as Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and reverse their position on the capital metro project. This will help to ensure Canberra remains an attractive and prosperous investment environment. It will ensure they are on the right side of history and capable of working constructively to create a stable investment environment to meet the needs of our growing city.

I remind those opposite that a light rail line from the city to Gungahlin delivered as a public-private partnership was an election commitment of ACT Labor in 2012. We promised to build a light rail line from the city to Gungahlin, and we are delivering on that promise. Our plan will provide business and investment certainty along the corridor, stimulating significant economic activity as the land surrounding the network increases in value and is used more efficiently. It will ensure that light rail integrates effectively with other modes of transport and contributes to a public transport network that puts people first. It will be a key economic stimulus project that supports more than 3,500 jobs in Canberra, creates investment and local business opportunity and delivers more than $1 billion in economic benefits. I urge the Canberra Liberals to get on board today.

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