Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Canberra Liberals Admit There's a Need For Light Rail

Apparently there are circumstances in which the Canberra liberals will build light rail

The Canberra Liberals blatant political opportunism over light rail has been exposed by the Canberra Liberals themselves. They do believe in the need for light rail, according to Transport Spokesman, MLA Alistair Coe. In a radio interview on 27 June he conceded that if elected, his party would scrap the contracts but keep the light rail plans for a future roll out of the network.

In the ABC 666 interview Mr Coe said: “We would still own the plans for the rail, the design work.  So we would have a shovel ready project if and when light rail does happen in 20-30-40 years down the track,

This is vastly different from his earlier position from last year, when he said: 'There are no circumstances whatsoever in which the Canberra liberals will go ahead with light rail. Absolutely none. If we get elected in october of 2016 it will be to stop light rail". 

Clearly there are circumstances in which the Canberra Liberals will build light rail.

A forward looking politician would surely want to build for the future.

Minister Simon Corbell and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury attacked Mr Coe for the comments, saying they showed the Liberals recognised light rail would be necessary in the future.

The comment comes at a late stage in the federal election campaign when Senator Zed Seselja is campaigning against the very light rail program the Liberal government he is part of, is funding.
Mr Corbell criticised Senator Seselja's use of light rail as a campaign tool, saying he was contradicting his federal colleagues.

"I think it's ironic that Zed Seselja is campaigning against a project that the federal Turnbull government is funding," "Maybe Zed needs to speak to his federal counterparts who have agreed to giving millions and millions of dollars that will go towards light rail here in Canberra."

Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury says the Canberra Liberals have realised light rail is required to address Canberra's growing population. In a gleefully worded press release, Mr Rattenbury said:

“It is clear that the Canberra Liberals are starting to realise that light rail is the necessary solution to Canberra’s growing congestion problems,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“But they have painted themselves into a corner with their anti-light rail propaganda and it seems they don’t even believe the rhetoric they are sprouting.
“This begs the key question – if the Liberals accept that we will need light rail in 20 years time, why tear up the contracts now?
“It is both easier and cheaper to PLAN for the future and have the infrastructure in place before it is too late to address Canberra’s growing congestion issues effectively.
“They are so wedded to their untenable position that not only they are prepared to burden the Canberra community with the substantial costs of cancelling the contract but they are also prepared to burden future generations with the inevitably increasing cost of the future construction.
“This shows a complete lack of vision from the opposition and demonstrates how ill-equipped the Liberal party is to take government.
“The Canberra Liberals have a history of being behind the eight ball when it comes to transport policy and planning.
“The Liberals originally opposed the introduction of the Red Rapid bus route and Mr Coe even moved a motion in the Assembly in 2009 opposing the West Belconnen route. He said: “It seems absurd to me that anyone would actually use this service.”
“That is now one of the most successful routes in Canberra, and the Liberals have used this ‘rapid’ model as the basis for their proposed new bus network,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“It’s almost as if the Canberra Liberals are living a decade behind the rest of us. It is time they caught up to the 21st Century and faced the realities of our growing city,” .

As well as this website, the facebook group 'Light Rail for Canberra' carries frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news. 

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