Can the Tram protesters gatecrashed the announcement today on Northbourne Avenue of the signing of contracts between the ACT Government and the successful light rail consortium, Canberra Metro.
The protesters held a large anti-tram banner behind Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell as he made the announcement that paves the way for the start of construction on Canberra’s first light rail project.
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A Can the Tram spokesman said they learnt of the event via a media report but none of the gathered media had reported the venue for the announcement.
A spokesman for the Canberra Liberals denied alerting the organization to the event.
Mr Corbell was good humoured about the stunt, acknowledging afterwards that the protesters were entitled to be there.
More to come, part of media release on contract signing and additional light rail-related news below:
Mr Corbell said the contract also delivered additional features that would improve the way Canberrans make use of inner city spaces.
A new area called Civic Plaza will create an accessible, usable and vibrant space between the Sydney and Melbourne buildings that will link the east and west sides of the CBD.
“With the new Civic Plaza we will create an area that brings people together in the middle of our city, bridging the gap between east and west,” Mr Corbell said.
“The upgraded Alinga Street terminus will give us a destination worthy of its place in the heart of the city and the dynamic lighting at stops along the route will add to the vibrancy of Canberra nights and will improve the experience of people using the corridor no matter which method they choose to travel.
“The artists impressions released today are just an example of how this space could be developed into a active and enjoyable community space.”
Mr Corbell said over the 20 years of the contract the annual availability payment, which includes operational costs such as electricity, drivers and maintenance as well as construction costs, would be approximately $48m in the first 12 months of operations and finish at approximately $75m for the last 12 months of the contract term in 2038, with an average annual availability payment of approximately $64m.
“Over its 20 year operations period this contract will account for less than 1 per cent of ACT Government expenditure,” Mr Corbell said.
“The Australian Government has also demonstrated its support by increasing its contribution to the project to $67 million.
“We are committed to building a city that continues to be one of the most liveable places in the world. The opportunity to build such a bold and visionary project shows that Canberra is a city of innovation, sustainable living and truly part of the global economy.”
The contract’s capital cost will be approximately $710 million, much less than the cost originally estimated in the business case for the project. This cost will be finalised when financial close for the project is reached in the coming weeks.
The ACT Government would be making a capital contribution of $375m towards the project in 2018-19. This $375m is funded from the sale of assets – such as ACTTAB, ageing public housing and ACT Government office accommodation – and includes a 15% bonus from the Commonwealth as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative.
The first stage of Canberra’s light rail network is an important part of the government’s integrated transport plan. As of July 1, the new Transport Canberra agency will coordinate buses and light rail planning, timetabling and fares and will develop a single ticket for use across the system, which will help to manage Canberra’s growth by reducing congestion on Canberra’s roads.
Figures for availability payments exclude territory contingency amounts and are approximate until the project reaches financial close in the coming weeks.