Liberal senator Zed Seselja to push for inquiry into light rail stage two

Liberal senator Zed Seselja to push for inquiry into light rail stage two

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja will push for the second stage of Canberra's light rail network to be referred to a parliamentary committee when the proposal goes before the Senate.

Light rail stage two will need to be approved by both houses of federal parliament as the route traverses Commonwealth land as it travels from Civic to Woden.

Liberal senator Zed Seselja.

Liberal senator Zed Seselja.Credit:ABC

While the ACT government is confident the proposal will pass, Senator Seselja says he will agitate for an extra layer of scrutiny to be applied to the project.

"They didn't get the process right the first time around," he said.

Minster for Transport Canberra and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris.

Minster for Transport Canberra and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

"Once [Labor] signed the parliamentary agreement with the Greens they stopped genuinely listening the community.

'The ACT government is not the font of all wisdom and this is an opportunity to give the community an additional chance to have their say, so that's a good thing."

The former Canberra Liberals leader has not been a fan of Canberra's light rail project in the past.

In 2015, he told the Canberra Times the project was "a dud" and did not "stack up".

However Senator Seselja said he would take a "constructive" view to the project when it came before the Senate.

"The parliamentary triangle is of national interest and the light rail is of local interest.

"We had an election on light rail and my view is not to be obstructive but find a good outcome for all.

"I want to make sure Canberrans get bang for their buck."

Senator Seselja believed he would get the numbers to send the project to a committee.

It is understood some Liberal politicians in the lower house would also support an inquiry.

ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the government had been working closely with the National Capital Authority on the second stage of light rail and had been "aware for a long time" of the parliamentary approval requirements.

She reiterated the government had committed funding to stage two, with $53.5 million invested in last year's budget, and the federal government had spent $63 million on stage on of light rail.

"The federal government is well aware of the ACT government's plans to extend light rail through the parliamentary triangle and on to Woden, and we have been in discussions with them around the possibility of this being an infrastructure project the federal government might like to support in a future city deal with Canberra," Ms Fitzharris said.

"The two current proposed routes would benefit the federal government as one passes near Parliament House, and the other through the Parliamentary Triangle, which would service a number of national institutions and government departments and agencies in the area."

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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