The Government has just announced that they are proceeding to the next stage of the light rail project. This involves calling for expressions of interest from which a short list of tenderers will be asked to submit their proposal to build, operate and maintain the system for 20 years.
The TCC is continuing to oppose this project because of its huge cost and the very small proportion of Canberrans who will get any benefit from this huge investment.
The public needs to understand that the Public Private Partnership that the Government favours means the Government does not pay any money to the contractor until the trams start rolling in 2019. In the interim, they will still be spending millions every year to pay the generous salaries of the 17 staff in the Capital Metro Project Office, consultants and preparatory works.
The Government refuses to tell us how much they expect the annual fee they pay the contractor will be. So much for their claim of transparency. My best guess is that this fee will be about $100 million every year for 20 years. This is about the same amount we pay to keep the whole of the ACTION bus network going. It makes no sense to pay a similar amount for just 12 km of light rail. Expanding the network to other parts of Canberra is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes because it is simply unaffordable.
We have asked the Government to not award any construction contracts until after the 2016 election. If Labor wins, we will accept they have a mandate for this project and shut up. The Liberals have stated that if they win, they will kill the project. If the Government awards a construction project before the election which is their intention and if the Liberals win, cancelling the construction contract will cost the taxpayer many millions. Given this situation, it would be irresponsible for the Government to award a construction contract before the 2016 election.
The South Quay development opposite Bunnings is now well advanced. We now have two developers who intend building residential units at South Quay. They are going to tell us about their developments at our next monthly meeting on Tuesday 7th October
upstairs in the Tuggeranong Southern Cross Club, starting at 7.30 pm
. All welcome so come along and hear what’s happening in your region.