Capital Metro has appointed senior NSW government transport official Scott Lyall to head procurement and delivery of Canberra's tramline, after the sudden departure of Stephen Allday, who resigned in October.
Mr Allday was less than halfway through a three-year appointment, and quit in the middle of procurement, with the agency evaluating bids at the moment from two consortiums vying to build and operate the $783 million line to Gungahlin.
On Tuesday, Liberal deputy leader Alistair Coe questioned Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell during Assembly hearings about Mr Allday's departure, saying it was "odd" to have the head of procurement leave in the middle of procurement.
Mr Corbell refused to detail Mr Allday's reasons, saying it had been an individual decision and it was not government policy to comment on the circumstances of staff members.
He had spoken with Mr Allday before he left, and "it would be fair to say that he remains of the view that this is a great project", Mr Corbell said.
Mr Coe insisted he was entitled to try to get to the bottom of the resignation.
"It is an important question about why the executive director procurement did leave in the middle of the contract tender assessment phase," he told Mr Corbell.
"… Do you accept that your inability to address this head on is going to to lead to … more suspicion and more concern as to why this person departed the agency?"
Mr Corbell responded: "No, and I would say to you that the only suspicion would be as a result of your smear and innuendo."
The timing of Mr Allday's departure had not compromised delivery of the light rail project in any way, he said.
Capital Metro director Emma Thomas said Mr Lyall, who worked for the NSW transport projects delivery office until August, was on a temporary contract, as Capital Metro was moving from procurement to delivery next year and would re-evaluate its structure.
Also on Tuesday, Mr Corbell said the government would foot the bill for changes to car parking in the city when half the Magistrates Court was set aside for a construction compound.
One option, costing $1 million, was to reconfigure the Magistrates Court car park and the Canberra Theatre carparks with better line marking and more efficient use of the space, plus some extra parks in Theatre lane.
The second option, costing $6 million, was to build a temporary structure on the remaining section of the Magistrates car park to provide more parking, but that was more complex and would mean closing the park for up to six months, he said.
Both options result in about 40 extra parks on current numbers.