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Light rail project seeks finance boss to avoid costs blow out

ON TRACK: An artist's impression of the ACT light rail.

ON TRACK: An artist's impression of the ACT light rail. Photo: Supplied

ACT government figures show the staff bill for Canberra's light rail project will soon hit $45,000 a week now that the hunt is on for an executive to stop the project's cost from blowing out.

The present weekly wages bill for Capital Metro is at least $37,373 but will rise when the government fills another four positions - including the role of finance and economics director - which will take the total staff number to 17.

The soon-to-be filled $230,406-a-year job of director of finance and economics involves providing the ''prosecution of an agreed financial strategy in the negotiation of delivery agreements'', according to the job advertisement.

The person who fills the role will spend a lot of time liaising with the directorates of the Chief Minister and Treasury and have the option of signing a contract of up to five years. The government is also paying economic and commercial advisors from Ernst & Young and an Arup-led consortium, which includes six local specialist consultants to provide technical advice and who will help with the preliminary design of the $600-million line between Gungahlin and the city.

The tender selection process to find a group to construct and operate the light-rail system will start in 2015 and a government spokesman said the project was still on track to start in 2016. ''Later this year they will produce a design definition for the project, select the best funding model and define the best approach to building and operating the light rail system,'' he said. The top three paid positions at Capital Metro will be director Emma Thomas, who is on a $382,000 annual package, her deputy (about $240,000 a year) and the $230,406 role of executive director of procurement and delivery.

Separate to staff costs, the chairman of the Capital Metro Project Board, John Fitzgerald, is listed as receiving $71,000 a year for his work.

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe said the light rail was an expensive strategy Labor used to get the Greens - whose sole MLA Shane Rattenbury, holds the balance of power - to keep them in government.

"Only now is the master plan being done, long after the government announced the route between Gungahlin and the city,'' Mr Coe said. ''How then is the master plan supposed to effectively determine the best possible rollout of the network?''

7 comments

  • Mr Corbell, Mr 1909 votes, as each day goes by it appears there is nothing you or your comrades are capable of doing or getting right is there.

    Commenter
    NITRO GANGSTER
    Date and time
    March 26, 2014, 10:52AM
    • All this money spent, but will we get a Belconnen to Civic light rail line?

      Commenter
      Martha
      Date and time
      March 26, 2014, 11:03AM
      • Why did it take all morning to allow comments on this article?

        More importantly - wow! how can I get a salary gig like this?

        Commenter
        Timing
        Date and time
        March 26, 2014, 12:01PM
        • Hell Timing I'll share the job and split the salary, itappears Corbell has no one smart enough and I think I am not a Rhodes Scholar but I think I may be a little smarter than he and his.

          Commenter
          NITRO GANGSTER
          Date and time
          March 26, 2014, 12:48PM
      • "Light rail project seeks finance boss to avoid costs blow out"

        Even the headline is funny. This is the ACT government, cost blowouts are inevitable....

        Commenter
        Deutsch
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        March 26, 2014, 12:13PM
        • A light rail will not solve the traffic nor travel times. A light rail will have to stop at traffic lights as well to pick up and drop off.

          use it, but a light rail will not attract daily commuters as it will not be much faster than a bus.Just run bus lanes down the middle with overpasses at major intersections and only a couple of stops between gunghalin and civic, people can change buses for an all stops one. Focus on fast travel to civic and people may use it.

          A high speed rail is the best way but airport lobby seem to be steering it their way.

          Commenter
          stoney
          Date and time
          March 26, 2014, 1:11PM
          • What a waste on money, I hope we can all be asked to subsidise it and make it sound viable like solar power

            Commenter
            Davo
            Date and time
            March 26, 2014, 1:14PM
            Comments are now closed
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