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Liberals Abandon Light Rail

26 September 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for INFRASTRUCUTURE, Mr ROCKLIFF

The Tasmanian Government's submission to Infrastructure Australia details your infrastructure priorities and road construction features very heavily. 

Mr Jaensch - Hear, hear.

Ms O'CONNOR - I despair.

Mr Ferguson - How did you get here today, on a road?

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Premier.

Ms O'CONNOR - I did not have to spend an hour in congested traffic, which is what happens because you have underinvested in public and passenger transport.

Minister, can you confirm that, despite making an election commitment to deliver light rail for Hobart, the project does not rate a mention in your priority list? Why have you allowed Tasmanians and particularly residents of Greater Hobart to believe your Government is committed to northern suburbs light rail when it is clearly not even on your agenda? Why did 
you decide to drop light rail?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. We are very committed to light rail as we said prior to the last election. It remains our election commitment along with the 10-year infrastructure pipeline that we produced a few months ago. For the first time ever, a 10-year infrastructure pipeline for this state.

Mr O'Byrne - It is a list of things other people are doing.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Mr O'Byrne.

Mr ROCKLIFF - There is some $13.9 billion worth of infrastructure investment, including $8 billion worth of public infrastructure investment. Infrastructure Tasmania is now consulting with the community on a 30-year infrastructure plan for Tasmania the draft for which will be released in December this year.

Ms O'Connor - Light rail does not get a mention.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. Ms O'Connor, warning one.

Mr ROCKLIFF - As the member should be well aware, the light rail project forms part of the city deal which the state and federal governments are working on right now.

Ms O'Connor - Does it? What city deal?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I confirm and allay the fears of the member. We are committed to the light rail project.

We have delivered when it comes to the Bridgewater bridge with over half a billion dollars' worth of investment and commitment from the federal government. It was a pleasure to be with our Primary Industries minister on Friday last week at Evandale to welcome, as was contained in the priority list: pipeline of prosperity; $70 millionworth of infrastructure for irrigation around the state; 10 key projects, which we will put forward to Infrastructure Australia for the federal government to commit to that irrigation investment. When you combine the federal government contribution, $70 million from the state, and farmer contribution, that is over $400 million worth of infrastructure inter-generational investment, growing the economy. The annual return for that investment will be some $114 million.

Infrastructure in Tasmania is a key priority for this Government as evidenced by our $2.6 billion Budget over the course of the next four years -

Ms O'Connor - Where is light rail?

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr ROCKLIFF - and $8 billion of public infrastructure over the course of the next decade. All projects that we are committed to at the 2018 election in March are a priority for this Government, including light rail.