The ACT Government has released its report “Light Rail Five Years On: Benefits Realisation Report 2024”, April 2024, prepared by Transport Canberra, thus by a government agency writing its own report card.

While the report is well written, well presented an apparently well researched, it is not without some errors of fact and has deliberate omissions of importance to taxpayers.  Essentially, it is a one-way street of claimed positive outcomes of Stage 1, but contains nothing of the many downsides to taxpayers. 

The report addresses only perceived ‘benefits’ of light rail, from the Government’s point of view and, except for the claimed $675 million for construction, does not attempt to identify the many actual costs to the taxpayer, nor direct benefits to the Government (and taxpayer) by ‘claw back’ from land sales or by taxes imposed on the claimed benefits to others such as the construction industry. 

There is no way of validating claimed figures – dollars or otherwise – without access to source data, but that would not be possible under this Government, which is baldly saying ‘Trust us!’  However, a revue of the report by the Auditor-General, to validate claims, would be very useful and probably enlightening.

While this long-awaited report gives some interesting data about light rail operations and claimed benefits (assuming validity), yet nothing at all on negative impacts, it can easily be seen as government propaganda leading to the ACT’s October 2024 election.

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