ACT News

Light rail promotional merchandise costs $14k

Canberra's light rail line won't commence services to Gungahlin until 2019, but the Capital Metro Agency has already spent more than $14,000 on promotional merchandise including foam and cardboard models. 

Information provided to the Legislative Assembly by Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell showed the agency purchased 2000 foam model trams bearing the ACT Government and agency logo at a cost of $5648.

Some 2000 foam model trams were purchased, at a cost of $5648.
Some 2000 foam model trams were purchased, at a cost of $5648. 

A further 2000 cardboard model trams were purchased at a cost of $3617, and taxpayers spent $4770.50 on 2000 Capital Metro drink bottles. 

The items were distributed to members of the public who visited the Capital Metro pop-up information shop located in Mort Street or took part in community consultation sessions associated with the project.

2000 cardboard fold-out model trams were bought for a cost of $3617.
2000 cardboard fold-out model trams were bought for a cost of $3617. 

An agency spokeswoman said the items will also be used for future events. 

In addition, the design and printing of 12 two metre-high banners promoting the light rail development cost $3771.90 and a further $10,000 was spent on brochures, posters and pamphlets promoting light rail.

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Open from June 30 until August 8, the pop-up shop located in the City Walk Arcade cost more than $29,000 for set up, staffing and maintenance.

"A member of the Capital Metro Agency communications and stakeholder engagement team was in attendance at the information centre at all times," Mr Corbell told the Assembly.

"This was a business as usual arrangement, done in half-day shifts. A junior officer, via a recruitment agency was engaged for the final three weeks of the six-week consultation session for a total charge of $5,771.93."

Mr Corbell said the small space was provided rent-free for promotion of the project.

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe on Thursday asked the ACT Government about when the Capital Metro Agency annual report would be presented to the Legislative Assembly.  

"The Government is heavy on spin and light on detail when it comes to the tram project," Mr Coe said. 

"I hope the quality of procurement improves, given they spent $5,648 on squishy promotional toys that resembled a bullet train, not a 30km/h tram."

On Monday, the tram line from Gungahlin to the city received the green light from the government, with a private consortium to be appointed to build and operate the line at least 20 years.

Mr Corbell told an industry briefing the construction cost would be close to $800 million, including a $173 million contingency. 

Expressions of interest from businesses will be called on October 31, when the project's final business case will be released.

Construction on the line is expected to start by mid 2016, ahead of tram services beginning operations in 2019.

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