Half of Canberrans support next stage of light rail according to union poll

Lachlan Roberts 11 April 2018 36

UnionsACT secretary Alex White said the survey showed the importance of the light rail project to Canberrans. File Photo.

Around 50 per cent of Canberrans support the construction of stage two of the proposed light rail from Civic to Woden, according to a poll commissioned by UnionsACT.

A poll conducted last month (16 March) found that 51.5 per cent of the 2,044 Canberrans surveyed support the next instalment, which is higher than the support for stage one, which was 39 per cent according to a poll in May 2015.

The eight-question poll was conducted by Reachtel, who randomly selected the 2,044 people then weighted by census data to be representative of the ACT population.

The union said the poll has a 2.2 per cent margin of error.

UnionsACT secretary Alex White said the survey showed the importance of the light rail project to Canberrans.

Mr White said the 51.5 per cent support for light rail is very high “especially after the strong opposition from the Canberra Liberals and relentless negative coverage from the Canberra Times”.

Mr White said ACT Senator Zed Seselja has opposed, delayed and blocked progress for stage two.

“By referring the construction of light rail stage two to a federal parliamentary inquiry, Senator Seselja appears intent on sabotaging hundreds of local jobs,” he said.

“Sadly, it appears that Senator Seselja and his counterparts in the Assembly have only a single vision for Canberra, which is to destroy jobs and wreck our local economy.”

Comments were sought from ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja.

Do you support or oppose the construction of stage two of the proposed light rail from Civic to Woden? Take part in our poll below.

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36 Responses to Half of Canberrans support next stage of light rail according to union poll
bj_ACT bj_ACT 10:08 am 14 Apr 18

Remember when the ACT Government was paying Piazza Research to do Light Rail Surveys and they were getting positive results.

Then the Canberra Times revealed that the ACT Government was re-wording the questions to help garner a positive result. This regular bi-annual survey from Piazza suddenly stopped cold after the revealing news.

Now we get an ACT Unions based survey that’s not fully releasing the methodology and questions to an academic standard. Take the results with a grain of salt fellow Canberrans.

Why can’t we have a proper and accurate survey on Light Rail expenditure instead of Liberal Party negative focused web surveys or Labor/Greens/Unions push polling pro light rail surveys.

    JC JC 12:32 pm 14 Apr 18

    I fully agree with you last para. Get the politics out of it

    aussie2 aussie2 1:50 pm 14 Apr 18

    The issue we always face is that surveys ought to be focussed on those who do not use the existing public transport. The 7% who do use it already will likely not change their habits due to Light rail. So, we want a representative figure from the 93% who DO NOT currently use ACTION buses now. Also, did you realise all of us will have to pay another $2B for a second route that has a tiny potential user population. The airport would be better anyway given the throughput is huge.

Cathy Dearnley Cathy Dearnley 8:47 am 14 Apr 18

Would be interesting to see the geography behind the voting. I'm just wondering if those who benefit vote yes. ..those who don't vote no. So gradually as the network rolls out we'll approach consensus. It'll never be 100% ..that's just not human nature 😀

    Kate Stevenson Kate Stevenson 12:27 pm 14 Apr 18

    Likely the people who vote no are the ones that don’t depend on public transport and thus see this as something that will just get in their way. Also the people who don’t live in the area this effects

    Kate Stevenson Kate Stevenson 12:28 pm 14 Apr 18

    Really they should just ask the people who’d actually have to use bus vs tram

Marko Lehikoinen Marko Lehikoinen 6:32 am 14 Apr 18

Loaded questions always return the result you want.

Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 11:50 am 13 Apr 18

A union poll. Very accurate 🙄

bigred bigred 7:41 am 13 Apr 18

I am really looking forward to the light rail trip between Civic and Woden. Defined route, dedicated right of way, smooth travel that derives its energy from sustainable power sources and a capital cost incurred by the government sector. I am sure Mr Barr will find some additional revenue generating assets along the route and may even find a way to collect a few dollars from the feds for running it through the parly triangle.
I do worry that he will be creating two classes of canberrans though: those with access to the extended hours of the tram versus those who only have access to the TWU controlled ACTION buses, with their early knock of times. For example, the Easter Saturday debacle for anyone choosing to use buses to get to the folk festival.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:51 am 13 Apr 18

    You do realise that it will take twice as long as the busses now take?

    Maya123 Maya123 1:20 pm 13 Apr 18

    Have you been on a bus in peak hour with the added ‘joy’ of an event and sitting on a bus hemmed in by traffic on Commonwealth Bridge? If you had, I don’t know how you can say that. At least half an hour was added to the bus ride. The bus was blocked by cars.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:00 pm 13 Apr 18

    How is the tram going to be different?

    Maya123 Maya123 6:09 pm 14 Apr 18

    Has it’s own route which cars don’t share.

    zapjelly zapjelly 12:03 pm 24 Dec 18

    2 bil could mean free mini buses from city to woden and 24 hours service, why not spend that money on fixing what we currently have. Have a look at the debacle of light rail in Sydney.

    zapjelly zapjelly 12:12 pm 24 Dec 18

    there is a dedicated bike lane, very environmentally friendly and exercise.

    jamesblake2908 jamesblake2908 2:21 pm 14 Apr 18


Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 10:11 pm 12 Apr 18

I just wonder what improvement stage two has over buses between civic and Woden, given the bus lane down Adelaide Ave and Yarra Glen. Also I wonder what development opportunities there are along stage two. We don’t have ageing government housing alone this route. Will the green space along Curtin be filled with apartments and townhouses?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:50 pm 12 Apr 18

    Having been stuck in a bus attempting to get over Commonwealth Bridge in peak hour, blocked by cars, the tram has to be better. (The bus was half an hour late because of car traffic.) Of course a traffic lane could be taken from cars on each side of the bridge and given to the bus and that would help improve it too, but imagine the resultant scream from car drivers.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 12:19 am 13 Apr 18

    Julie Macklin but won’t the same lane be taken from the bridge and given to the tram? The griffin plan and NCA does not allow for an extra bridge along that corridor. So as well as car traffic being slowed by loss of lane on bridge so will busses that come from other parts of south canberra

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:15 am 13 Apr 18

    Patrick J Pentony I don't know where the tram might go, but wherever, it will be given its own tram route, whereas buses are unlikely to be and will continue to suffer congestion in busy traffic. The tram will be able to travel better in peak hour than buses.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:04 pm 12 Apr 18

On the subject of polls, I received a call on my fixed home line this evening from a computer with a female recorded voice asking “if an election was held in the ACT today, who would you vote for?” and it listed the appropriate key functions for Labor, Canberra Liberals etc.

Could it be that Barr is planning a snap election before the full cost details of the tram experiment and other funding problems are released?
It would be a great time for an election with the Liberals being so pathetic. Labor would see it as a great opportunity to get a majority without the Greens to (sometimes) rely on.

Go for it Mr Barr.

Wing Nut Wing Nut 9:13 pm 12 Apr 18

Depends how the question was framed. If you asked a simple “Do you support..” Yes/No question then most people will support it. However if you said “Would you support a light rail extension if the ACT was to incur an additional $1b in debt to be funded by rates and levies increases” you’d find the answer would be somewhat different.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:08 am 13 Apr 18

    Most voters in the ACT are not old enough to remember the economic hardships that come with a financial recession and high unemployment. They think money grows on trees and all capital items are funded on credit so marrying up another not-needed tram with a billion dollar debt is beyond their comprehension.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:03 pm 12 Apr 18

I wonder how many of the people currently outraged by the ACT Government’s efforts to generate increased rates revenue from apartment, townhouse etc. owners are also in favour of stage two (and beyond) of the network?

When the value capture taxing kicks in for those owning properties anywhere moderately proximate to the lines, things will get very interesting (lots more outrage in the local media), but it will be far too late by then.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:15 pm 12 Apr 18

Like Infrastructure Australia (the independent umpire) I agree that Light Rail is not suitable for Canberra. The journey time from Civic to Woden will either double or triple depending on which route is chosen. Our city will be further neglected by the cost of the project or rates will become astronomic. Let us wait and see what happens to patronage between Gungahlin and Civic when they lose their express buses, journey times double and most passengers have to stand.

Belconandonandon Belconandonandon 12:51 pm 12 Apr 18

According to the Canberra Times, around 41% in the poll were opposed and the rest were undecided. It’s interesting that support has apparently increased. Perhaps some of the opposition to stage one was that it only directly benefited the north side, so some south siders were just upset that they were missing out rather than actually being opposed to the idea of a light rail network.

I think the light rail could work but they need to keep it separate from roads as much as possible and try to minimise the amount of time waiting at intersections. The recently built GC light rail seems like a good example.

    chewy14 chewy14 3:38 pm 12 Apr 18

    There were different polls around the same time that had majority support as well so I don’t know whether support has increased.

    Although it might make sense considering there would be a proportion of the population that didn’t want it, but because they are paying for stage 1 anyway, want the light rail to extend to their areas so everyone else can pay more too.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:43 pm 12 Apr 18

We are still to see the final costing of the current stage. I guess Stage 2 will start before the stage 1 costs are promulgated so it will be too late to stop it if it way over budget.

There has been a massive blow out in costs on the Sydney light rail project with the lead contractor now suing the NSW government: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/spanish-lightrail-contractor-acciona-claims-details-of-utilities-withheld/news-story/8469d1a243f2f351c8cab16bae9e50b3

This has been widely reported in Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald but not in the Canberra Times (or on the ABC either)

By the way, the results of the audit as to what utilities were under Northbourne Avenue has never been release, has it?

How can Alex White accuse the CT of being negative when they suppress a vital story which is detrimental to all light rail projects. This appears to be supporting the Canberra project.

    JC JC 12:37 pm 14 Apr 18

    What do you mean we are yet to see the final coatings? Again you fail to understand how the whole PPP thing works. The cost to the territory is well and truely public, same too the cost of contingency top up which I believe to date very little has been needed. Read zero.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:33 am 16 Apr 18

    What we are getting now is indeed “coatings” – Santa Snow to be precise.
    JC, the project is months behind and they are trying to do “catch up” by night much to the annoyance of the nearby residents.

    This will cost heaps.

Dory Johns Dory Johns 12:12 pm 12 Apr 18

So that means that nearly half aren't. That's why governing by consensus doesn't work.

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