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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 997 ..

devastating effects on our planet, not just Australia. In Australia, of course, just think of all our coastal cities with the sea three metres higher. Climate change refugees will increase. We need to take this issue very seriously.

I was pleased to see that the Tathra community understand that more frequent and extreme weather events, including bushfires, are linked to climate change and that they were brave enough to stand up to our Prime Minister on this issue. The community clearly see what our Prime Minister is blindly rejecting, what we as a community and a country, and the world, cannot afford to do.

The people of Canberra, Tathra and other communities across Australia will not be discouraged by the federal government. We will continue to be leaders and do what is necessary to reduce and, hopefully, reverse climate change so as to keep our communities safe, or at least safer, from these kinds of natural disasters.

Light rail—Gungahlin

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.02): I rise today to ensure that serious issues in my own electorate are heard by this chamber and that the government is made aware of the real impact of light rail construction on businesses in Gungahlin.

As many of you know, I come from a strong background of small business. In fact, this was one of my motivations for getting involved in politics. I ran a small business, and whilst it was hard work, publishing was a fantastic and rewarding career. It is with this background and my understanding of the sometimes harsh realities that face businesses that I address the Assembly.

Disruptions to trade have a very real impact on the lives of business owners, employees and families in our region. As a direct result of light rail, Gungahlin businesses are reporting losses of between 30 and 50 per cent. Whilst I recognise how capable and resilient small business owners can be, there is only so much they can bear and only so long they can wait for this project to be delivered.

In the last sitting the opposition posed several questions to the government on the impact of light rail construction. The aim was to determine their attitude towards recognising how this affects businesses. We asked about avenues for redress for businesses for the financial impact light rail has had in Gungahlin, Harrison, Franklin and Mitchell. We sought a commitment to provide a stop in Mitchell to support the 300 businesses and more than 4,000 employees that work in the area. Just this week we have seen the submission of a 5,000-signature petition on this very issue.

To be honest, I am extremely disappointed that the government’s response took so long and had to be dragged out of them. Any response to date has been verbal. Nothing seems to be in writing. Nor does it represent a meaningful commitment. Their disregard for the business community is shameful.

When plans for light rail were finalised, the people of Yerrabi would never have imagined that one of the major business districts of the region would be left out. Originally Mitchell did have a light rail stop at Lysaght Street. For most people, it

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