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Can the Tram crash light rail contract signing announcement

By Charlotte Harper - 17 May 2016 34

Light rail

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.

See a more detailed version of this story here, learn more about the signing of the contract here, and see how the Canberra Liberals reacted here.

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.

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.

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Can the Tram crash light rail contract signing announcement
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rommeldog56 3:27 pm 25 May 16

HiddenDragon said :

One thing that’s often overlooked is that this is a ‘Trojan horse’ for over-development. It’s an excuse for developers to push for ever greater population densities along the route.

This population & debt growth/property development, Ponzi economy is delivering vast amounts of wealth into the hands of the few at the expense of the many. The short term cash injections might make politicians look good until the next election, but come at huge long term cost. The economic ideology we are following here is totally unsustainable. -Martin Tye, ACT Senate candidate, Sustainable Australia Party.

Well said Martin.

martinrev21 10:06 am 25 May 16

One thing that’s often overlooked is that this is a ‘Trojan horse’ for over-development. It’s an excuse for developers to push for ever greater population densities along the route.

This population & debt growth/property development, Ponzi economy is delivering vast amounts of wealth into the hands of the few at the expense of the many. The short term cash injections might make politicians look good until the next election, but come at huge long term cost. The economic ideology we are following here is totally unsustainable. -Martin Tye, ACT Senate candidate, Sustainable Australia Party.

rubaiyat 12:06 am 22 May 16

madelini said :

Fluffy said :

HenryBG said :

At tonight’s North Canberra Community Council meeting, Emma Thomas explained that the Government will pay $375 million on completion of the construction of Capital Metro, and that the annual payments will cover BOTH annual operating costs AND the remaining capital repayments.

She said that the Net Present Value of the payments would be about $950 million.

On that basis, Capital Metro’s benefit-cost ratio will be about 1.2.

Imagine if you had applied this kind of bean-counting analysis to the Snowy Mountains Scheme, or any other major infrastructure project. This nation would not have been built. Sometimes you have to outlay some cash to make real progress. This is one of those times. Otherwise you are just supporting those who would turn this city into one big traffic jam.

What was the alternative to SMEC? The tram has a cost-effective alternative to consider.

Either nuclear reactors or.an insane number of coal fired power stations pouring out pollution as I it doesn’t matter, because only money counts. Short sighted money.

Masquara 12:52 pm 21 May 16

Fluffy said :

HenryBG said :

At tonight’s North Canberra Community Council meeting, Emma Thomas explained that the Government will pay $375 million on completion of the construction of Capital Metro, and that the annual payments will cover BOTH annual operating costs AND the remaining capital repayments.

She said that the Net Present Value of the payments would be about $950 million.

On that basis, Capital Metro’s benefit-cost ratio will be about 1.2.

Imagine if you had applied this kind of bean-counting analysis to the Snowy Mountains Scheme, or any other major infrastructure project. This nation would not have been built. Sometimes you have to outlay some cash to make real progress. This is one of those times. Otherwise you are just supporting those who would turn this city into one big traffic jam.

What was the alternative to SMEC? The tram has a cost-effective alternative to consider.

Matt Watts 11:43 pm 20 May 16

John Hargreaves said :

kincuri said :

OP says
“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.”

and then

“A spokesman for the Canberra Liberals denied alerting the organization to the event.”

Classic ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ type journalism.

Was the venue a secret? Do you usually investigate where protestors get their information from? Does it matter anyway? Could your hint (‘the Canberra Liberals deny….. ‘) be any more obvious?

Reportage on this RiotACT lately has been pretty good – mostly just a straight factual report or an obvious op-ed.

This reads like an ALP press release.

Hi Justin,
It is largely a republishing of their press release and states that clearly. I attended the event and the Liberals’ press conference afterwards but then had to leave to deal with other commitments till late evening, so used my phone to publish a brief breaking news piece with the press release pasted below and marked as such. I subsequently put together a more substantial package of three stories as you’ll see from the home page. Other readers have criticised me in the past for not posting a quick piece with the media release and only publishing the news once I’ve finished the full news stories, so this was a bit of an experiment to try to get an initial piece out there quickly.
As for your comments on whether how Can the Tram knew of the event is of interest to readers, it was very surprising to me that they were there because it was not a public event but a media event, to which only media, politicians and their staff and staff of Capital Metro and Canberra Metro were invited. I have never seen a protest like it at a media event in Canberra before. There was wide speculation that a Liberal staffer tipped them off and I felt it appropriate to report that, particularly given Jeremy Hanson denied tipping them off but did not rule out one of his staff doing so.
Thanks for your feedback, though. One of the things I love most about working at the RiotACT is the way readers let us know when they find errors or an issue with our content, because it helps us to do better next time and improve what’s out there already.
Cheers,
Charlotte

I don’t know why there’d be speculation that the Libs tipped off Can the Tram because, if that did occur, there’d naturally follow the question of who would have tipped off the Libs; I mean, the Libs weren’t guests of honour.

I myself heard about the signing due to social media that morning, around 2 hrs before the signing. It’s a small town.

HiddenDragon 6:47 pm 18 May 16

miz said :

“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.”
Great idea, let’s build a plaza across what is currently the main thoroughfare for traffic into and out of the city from south Canberra. If there was ever a way to increase traffic congestion on the Commonwealth Avenue bridge and Adelaide Avenue, this is it. Gungahlin residents get better public transport whilst the rest of Canberra gets even more time stuck in traffic jams.
I wonder if by “vibrant” they mean what they have along to Flemington Road between Harrison and Franklin, with the “vibrant” designs of their multi-storey units continuing the industrial look found in Mitchell? What an awful prison-like wind tunnel that area has become, with the same bland grey tones being repeated building after building, with the odd splash of hideous colour leaving me wondering what the architects really think about their work after it has been constructed. Where is the appeal? What happened to nicely sculpted facades, columns, cornices? I am not talking about the rubbish pieces of steel they’ve tacked onto the outside of the Wayfarer in Belconnen [What an atrocity], but some old school class to bring out the best in a building’s features, like what is found on the Melbourne and Sydney buildings in Civic. I am afraid ACTPLA has opted for the concrete jungle look, with a dab of colour here and there in a feeble attempt to mask the drabness. Where is the boldness and vision in these designs?

A little while back, a knowing Rioter explained that “vibrant”, when used in spruik-pieces about developments/re-developments, actually means “increased knife crime” – I was reminded of that when I read about the exciting new Civic Plaza….

JC 5:34 pm 18 May 16

rosscoact said :

bulldog600 said :

Mysteryman said :

From the OP :

” Over its 20 year operations period this contract will account for less than 1 per cent of ACT Government expenditure, Mr Corbell said. “

Um…..this is for stage 1, just 12 Ks of track. How many other tram stages will be necessary ? And it is Corbell’s ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t that has , yet again, been caught out falsifying hospital waiting times – and it is still one of the worst performing hospitals in the country despite the rigging of the figures !

So, its “just 1 percent” of the ACT Budget, which is at near record deficit levels, that will not be available to fix the hospital mess once and for all.

Honestly, how can members of this ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t sleep at night ?

The current deficit is due to the efforts of the “Free Enterprise” stupidity of Mr Fluffy and the money blown on useless goldplated freeways duplicating, or even triplicating existing roads and massively losing money (they never make any) from the day they are finished.

The Howard government flogged off enormous amounts of public assets to the gain of no-one.

Mum and Dad investors never saw their money back on Telstra.

Privatised Telstra enriched a few incompetent CEOs and their Amigoes, threw money time and again into failed projects both here and overseas, whilst sabotaging every effort to upgrade our telecommunications to 21st century standard, jacking up costs and scrapping the share price whilst we slip further and further down the table of infrastructure investment.

The Liberals and Agrarian Socialist Party have no trouble sleeping at the wheel, they’ve done it for almost 70 years. Giving away Australia piecemeal to whatever foreigners are knocking at our door or selling us economic theories that mysteriously transfer our assets and our money into their pockets.

But we have enough dimwitted suckers in this country to buy whatever nonsense they are peddling and are not going to wake up to how they have been had, ever.

Gee, thanks for that, comrade.
As the financial noose tightens on the ACT economy, expect key roads to be privatised and become “toll-powered” motor ways.
Every other Labor state has done it, it’s very much part of their culture these days.

Thought user pays was Lieberal culture. Free enterprise and making a buck and all.

dungfungus 4:57 pm 18 May 16

bulldog600 said :

Mysteryman said :

From the OP :

” Over its 20 year operations period this contract will account for less than 1 per cent of ACT Government expenditure, Mr Corbell said. “

Um…..this is for stage 1, just 12 Ks of track. How many other tram stages will be necessary ? And it is Corbell’s ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t that has , yet again, been caught out falsifying hospital waiting times – and it is still one of the worst performing hospitals in the country despite the rigging of the figures !

So, its “just 1 percent” of the ACT Budget, which is at near record deficit levels, that will not be available to fix the hospital mess once and for all.

Honestly, how can members of this ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t sleep at night ?

The current deficit is due to the efforts of the “Free Enterprise” stupidity of Mr Fluffy and the money blown on useless goldplated freeways duplicating, or even triplicating existing roads and massively losing money (they never make any) from the day they are finished.

The Howard government flogged off enormous amounts of public assets to the gain of no-one.

Mum and Dad investors never saw their money back on Telstra.

Privatised Telstra enriched a few incompetent CEOs and their Amigoes, threw money time and again into failed projects both here and overseas, whilst sabotaging every effort to upgrade our telecommunications to 21st century standard, jacking up costs and scrapping the share price whilst we slip further and further down the table of infrastructure investment.

The Liberals and Agrarian Socialist Party have no trouble sleeping at the wheel, they’ve done it for almost 70 years. Giving away Australia piecemeal to whatever foreigners are knocking at our door or selling us economic theories that mysteriously transfer our assets and our money into their pockets.

But we have enough dimwitted suckers in this country to buy whatever nonsense they are peddling and are not going to wake up to how they have been had, ever.

Gee, thanks for that, comrade.
As the financial noose tightens on the ACT economy, expect key roads to be privatised and become “toll-powered” motor ways.
Every other Labor state has done it, it’s very much part of their culture these days.

rubaiyat 1:51 pm 18 May 16

Mysteryman said :

From the OP :

” Over its 20 year operations period this contract will account for less than 1 per cent of ACT Government expenditure, Mr Corbell said. “

Um…..this is for stage 1, just 12 Ks of track. How many other tram stages will be necessary ? And it is Corbell’s ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t that has , yet again, been caught out falsifying hospital waiting times – and it is still one of the worst performing hospitals in the country despite the rigging of the figures !

So, its “just 1 percent” of the ACT Budget, which is at near record deficit levels, that will not be available to fix the hospital mess once and for all.

Honestly, how can members of this ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t sleep at night ?

The current deficit is due to the efforts of the “Free Enterprise” stupidity of Mr Fluffy and the money blown on useless goldplated freeways duplicating, or even triplicating existing roads and massively losing money (they never make any) from the day they are finished.

The Howard government flogged off enormous amounts of public assets to the gain of no-one.

Mum and Dad investors never saw their money back on Telstra.

Privatised Telstra enriched a few incompetent CEOs and their Amigoes, threw money time and again into failed projects both here and overseas, whilst sabotaging every effort to upgrade our telecommunications to 21st century standard, jacking up costs and scrapping the share price whilst we slip further and further down the table of infrastructure investment.

The Liberals and Agrarian Socialist Party have no trouble sleeping at the wheel, they’ve done it for almost 70 years. Giving away Australia piecemeal to whatever foreigners are knocking at our door or selling us economic theories that mysteriously transfer our assets and our money into their pockets.

But we have enough dimwitted suckers in this country to buy whatever nonsense they are peddling and are not going to wake up to how they have been had, ever.

justin heywood 12:44 pm 18 May 16

John Hargreaves said :

kincuri said :

OP says
“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.”

and then

“A spokesman for the Canberra Liberals denied alerting the organization to the event.”

Classic ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ type journalism.

Was the venue a secret? Do you usually investigate where protestors get their information from? Does it matter anyway? Could your hint (‘the Canberra Liberals deny….. ‘) be any more obvious?

Reportage on this RiotACT lately has been pretty good – mostly just a straight factual report or an obvious op-ed.

This reads like an ALP press release.

Hi Justin,
It is largely a republishing of their press release and states that clearly. I attended the event and the Liberals’ press conference afterwards but then had to leave to deal with other commitments till late evening, so used my phone to publish a brief breaking news piece with the press release pasted below and marked as such. I subsequently put together a more substantial package of three stories as you’ll see from the home page. Other readers have criticised me in the past for not posting a quick piece with the media release and only publishing the news once I’ve finished the full news stories, so this was a bit of an experiment to try to get an initial piece out there quickly.
As for your comments on whether how Can the Tram knew of the event is of interest to readers, it was very surprising to me that they were there because it was not a public event but a media event, to which only media, politicians and their staff and staff of Capital Metro and Canberra Metro were invited. I have never seen a protest like it at a media event in Canberra before. There was wide speculation that a Liberal staffer tipped them off and I felt it appropriate to report that, particularly given Jeremy Hanson denied tipping them off but did not rule out one of his staff doing so.
Thanks for your feedback, though. One of the things I love most about working at the RiotACT is the way readers let us know when they find errors or an issue with our content, because it helps us to do better next time and improve what’s out there already.
Cheers,
Charlotte

Ok, that all makes sense, and thanks for taking the time to reply Charlotte.

JC 12:15 pm 18 May 16

Mysteryman said :

Mordd said :

Can the Tram? How stupid are we? Other cities are building more tramway in a bid to cut pollution. Freiburg, Germany; Helsinki, Finland and Zurich, Switzerland for instance. See here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/17/how-are-cities-around-the-world-tackling-air-pollution

All those cities you nominated are old and have nowhere to park cars.
Canberra is a modern city designed for the motor car to be the main method of transport.
The current ACT government is doing its best to take us back 100 years so we can be just like the cities in Europe that don’t have the choice but to put in pedestrian speed tram ways.
Every person I know from Europe that has visited me in Canberra has commented on how lucky we are in having a planned city without trams.
Yes, we are stupid.
And just because trams don’t have an ICE doesn’t mean they have pollution free network establishment and operation.

Herin lie the whole issue.

In your wording can I change one word please? And say:

Canberra WAS (note was rather than IS) designed for the motor vehicle. You won’t get an argument from me that is for sure.

But we are not talking about the past we are taking about the current and the future. What worked before doesn’t now as can be clearly demonstrated by the endless comments on this board about road projects etc.

As has been discussed here many times before there is not endless space for yet more carparks, nor is there endless scope to widen or otherwise increase capacity on the exiting aterial road network to the capaicty that would be required to accomodate the current, let alone future population. Especially in the more central areas of Belconnen/City and Woden.

The thought bubble of the NCDC that we would all live work and play in our own towns, which is what modern day Canberra is designed on (compared to Burley Griffins design) has proven to be flawed. So basically accepting the status quo and burying ones head in this 1960’s/1970’s way of thinking is not relevant in modern day Canberra.

And as for Europe, don’t know how many European cities you have been to, but I’ve been to a lot, having lived in Europe. And lets say that not many travel at walking pace, especially the MODERN systems that are popping up in places that either never had light rail/trams before or who are re-introducing them after ripping them out duirng the car craze years. Indeed even the good old USA is slowly embracing said technology.

dungfungus 12:05 pm 18 May 16

Fluffy said :

HenryBG said :

At tonight’s North Canberra Community Council meeting, Emma Thomas explained that the Government will pay $375 million on completion of the construction of Capital Metro, and that the annual payments will cover BOTH annual operating costs AND the remaining capital repayments.

She said that the Net Present Value of the payments would be about $950 million.

On that basis, Capital Metro’s benefit-cost ratio will be about 1.2.

Imagine if you had applied this kind of bean-counting analysis to the Snowy Mountains Scheme, or any other major infrastructure project. This nation would not have been built. Sometimes you have to outlay some cash to make real progress. This is one of those times. Otherwise you are just supporting those who would turn this city into one big traffic jam.

Amazing, isn’t it.
The Greens support light rail but would have opposed the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

JC 12:03 pm 18 May 16

Mordd said :

rosscoact said :

Masquara said :

Someone (unspecified) says

“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…”

This ‘fully funded’ concept has always intrigued me. In its last budget the ACT deficit was $407 million. That means they spent $407 million more than they received.

Under a deficit of this magnitude, any sales of assets such as public housing stock is not some windfall that they can splurge in whimsical fashion as if there are no other calls on those funds.
It beats me why anyone swallows this nonsense, especially the supposedly cynical media.

I know that sections of the Green left think that a government can’t go broke – and perhaps they’re right.
But someone DOES have to pay for all this, whether it’s poor people being unable to access public housing in the future, or the next government having to run down infrastructure because of huge debts, etc.

But by this time, Barr, Rattenbury and the tram carpetbaggers and boosters will have moved on.

$2b over 20 years is about $275 per person per year in 2016 dollars and assuming there is not population growth in the next 20 years.

Like a house expensive when you buy but gets less and less as your income increases but the investment cost remains in the dollars when you brought it.

Assuming your income always increases. You must be a public servant.

Show me one persons who’s income has not increased in the past 20 years, and yes including non public servants.

As Malcom would say it is just common sense incomes will rise. Sure costs will rise, BUT when you buy something today and pay it off over 20 years that cost is in todays terms. So over time the repayments become less as a percentage of income. In otherwords less in real terms.

Good example if we had of built this thing when first proposed by Bob Wynell in the early 90’s it would have cost closer to $100m and would have been paid off, done and dusted by now.

bj_ACT 11:53 am 18 May 16

Mordd said :

Can the Tram? How stupid are we? Other cities are building more tramway in a bid to cut pollution. Freiburg, Germany; Helsinki, Finland and Zurich, Switzerland for instance. See here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/17/how-are-cities-around-the-world-tackling-air-pollution

I wouldn’t really call these comparable cities to Canberra, Freiburg would be closest and slightly smaller population wise and much smaller area wise than Canberra, but it’s an eco city that has had a lot of money spent on it and has had for a long time very low car ownership. Imagine the uproar if the Federal Government gave Canberra $5b to build a city wide Light Rail.

I am sure reasonable Canberran’s think light rail is technically a good idea, it’s whether it’s the best use of a massive amount of public money to get to the desired outcome that is the crux of the issue. Especially for residents of Belco, Woden, Weston and Tuggers who have to pay for it while only 3% of the population in the Civic / Gunghalin area will get to use it. at $64 million a year to run, it almost guarantees that the rest of the lines to other areas will never ever get built by a future government.

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