Page 1742 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Dr Bourke): The question is that the motion, as amended, be agreed to.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.14): I thank Mr Corbell and Mr Rattenbury for their contributions to this debate. I am, of course, disappointed that the government once again is refusing to reveal exactly what the impact is going to be on taxpayers with regard to this light rail project.
It is interesting that Mr Rattenbury should say that, in effect, we need competitive tension in this project; therefore, we cannot say what the cost is going to be. In effect, the business case reveals the cost. The business case reveals the cost as $783 million. Pages 85 and 86 of the business case go into some detail about the risk associated with the project, the life cycle costs, operating costs et cetera. So we already have those costs in the business case. That is how we got to $783 million. It is that figure which is the figure which would have led to the most enterprise with regard to submissions.
They actually disclose in that cost, which I think was the right thing to do, a lot of the other costs which are subsets of that and which are secondary. Therefore, I do not know why the government would go to the extent of publishing the $783 million figure but not be in a position where they can disclose whether they can make an up-front capital contribution as contemplated in the report and, if they do make an up-front capital contribution, what the impact will be on the availability payment. The business case talks about this as a scenario. This is not a new situation. This is something which is spelt out in some detail in that report. Therefore, it is right and proper that the government say exactly what the availability payment will be.
Of course, this year’s budget and the outyears should give us a pretty good indication as to whether there will be a capital contribution or not. However, as has been the case with past budgets, the government has been unwilling to stipulate what the actual cost of light rail is. I would not be at all surprised if we see nothing other than staff costs for future years, for the outyears, in this year’s budget, because that is, in effect, what we have seen in the last couple of years as well. The government are concerned about the cost of light rail. They must be. That is why they continually refuse to outline what the 20 or 30-year cost of light rail is going to be.
Once again I am disappointed that the government, including Mr Rattenbury, refuse to tell the people of Canberra, the people who will be paying for light rail—not using it but paying for it—exactly what the cost will be. I urge members to continually put pressure on the government to do what they can to make this government publish the cost of this light rail project so that all Canberrans can make an informed decision about whether or not it is in our best interests.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.17): I move: