Page 2383 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.55): I will not be supporting Mr Coe’s motion. Like every one of the motions Mr Coe has presented on light rail, it is short sighted, motivated by political ends and ill-informed about the situation it purports to describe. To start with, Mr Coe’s motion says the recent EIS proposes the closure of the London Circuit car park for the entirety of the four-year construction period. The trouble starts from the first line of the motion. The EIS is a draft EIS meaning, of course, that the construction compound sites are possibilities and are not finalised. Likewise, it is not proposed to close the car park for the entirety of the four-year construction period. Yes, there is a possibility that compounds will be needed for four years, but they may also only be needed for a shorter period. These are details that are not yet resolved.
The reality is that all these issues are still under consideration. A range of options are available in relation to construction compounds. Their final configuration will depend on final government decisions as well as the approach taken by the successful consortium. These decisions will, of course, be taken with input from the community. There will be mitigation measures. A variety of options are already being considered. If the London Circuit car park is used, for example, it may be that only some part of it is required. It may be that the project management compensates for lost car parking by providing some other car parking areas. A range of options are to be considered, and they will, of course, all be discussed with a range of stakeholders.
The point is that these decisions are not yet made and are still under active consideration. Mr Coe, in his excitement to throw mud at the light rail project, seems to have jumped ahead. It may be that the final decision is that the London Circuit car park is used as a temporary construction compound. That could be the case. Construction compounds are necessary to build big projects like light rail. Likewise, there will be other disruptions along the route including other compounds, construction work and inevitably some traffic disruptions. This will be minimised as much as possible. A great deal of work is going into the project, and this will increase manifold when the consortium comes on board. No doubt they will share the goal of minimising disruption.
It is easy for Mr Coe to oppose the creation of any construction compounds and to promise no disruptions to Canberra drivers because he says he would not build light rail. There would never be disruptions under this approach because we would not build any public transport infrastructure. That seems so easy, but there is something a little bit ugly about the approach of opposing a project in principle but then picking out each individual element of disruption and trying to make hay out of that.
We know perfectly well that if the Liberals wanted to build some big road, for example—and we know they do want to build a lot of big roads—they would support building construction compounds and would accept disruptions to commuters that come with that project. It is like how Mr Coe is suddenly in love with the trees on Northbourne Avenue but has never raised an issue with trees that are removed for any other development. It is all rather see-through. Even as he laments disruptions to