The ACT's peak trade unions body is increasing pressure on Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson over his attacks on light rail and have again called for the Liberals to support construction jobs the project would create.
Unions ACT secretary Alex White has held meetings with Mr Hanson and written to him in recent days, arguing the project's promised 3500 new construction jobs would help Canberra ride out tough economic conditions and the loss of public service jobs under the Abbott government.
Ahead of launching a public awareness campaign about the promised job creation from the $783 million tram line later this month, Mr White said a failure to support light rail would see Mr Hanson lose the October 2016 ACT election.
"The first and most important job for any government is to help create jobs," Mr White said.
"Job creation should receive bi-partisan support from our political leaders. That's why I've asked Jeremy Hanson to stop using 3,500 jobs created by light rail as a political football."
Mr Hanson did not respond to a letter from Mr White, dated June 18. Construction on the line from the city to Gungahlin is due to begin in the months before voters go to the ballot box.
"Sadly, it appears that Mr Hanson and the ACT Liberals seem intent on following the path of the Abbott government to destroy jobs and wreck Canberra's economy," Mr White said.
A poll released by the union movement last week showed more Canberrans opposed light rail than support development. However, 38.6 per cent of respondents said they were more likely to support light rail if it created the promised total number of jobs.
The May 28 automated poll of 1446 ACT residents asked respondents if they supported or opposed a light rail system. With a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, the poll found 38.8 per cent supported light rail, 46.3 per cent were opposed and 14.9 per cent were undecided.
On the jobs question, 25.3 per cent said they were less likely to support based on the 3500 jobs and support was unchanged among 36.1 per cent.
The government's environmental impact statement, released this week, said construction of the 12 kilometre line would see average employment of 500 people, up to 900 at peak times. The government's business case released in October said light rail would create 1450 "direct jobs" with a peak of 1780 positions.
The business case, and an employement analysis report commissioned by the government, also forecasts 2100 "indirect jobs".
There will be 125 ongoing jobs once the tram line is operational in 2019.
Mr Hanson said the only organisation politicising Canberra's light rail debate unfairly was Unions ACT.
"I have met with Mr White personally in my office twice to discuss light rail in great detail and I don't respond to threats.
"Running a political campaign is not engaging with someone. He is running a political campaign on behalf of his Labor mates."
Mr Hanson accused the union movement of using low paid workers' money to "prop up the Labor party" on the issue of light rail. Unions ACT is not formally affiliated with ACT Labor.
"The evidence suggests light rail at a cost of $783 million does not stack up as a transport option, as an economic option," Mr Hanson said. "This $783 million spent on other projects would deliver better outcomes."
This month the oppositon pledged to spend $146 million on public transport and road infrastructure if they win the next election.
Mr Hanson said road projects supported by the opposition, including duplication of Gundaroo Drive and a flyover at the Barton Highway, would create more jobs for Canberra workers than a tram line.
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