The possibility has emerged of a union-funded campaign to support Labor's tram project, after it was revealed that Unions ACT has been polling on support for the project.
Unions ACT secretary Alexander White confirmed on Monday the peak union group had funded polling by Brisbane firm Reachtel Research, but would make no further comment beyond saying he would have "more to say in the next week or so".
Despite the highly political questions asked, t
The automated telephone poll last week asked Canberrans who they voted for and how likely they were to change their vote by the 2016 election. It asked whether "generally speaking" the territory was heading in the right or wrong direction. It asked whether people supported or opposed light rail, and whether they were more or less likely to vote for a candidate that supported light rail.
It asked respondents whether they were more or less likely to vote for light rail if it created 3500 jobs during construction.
The $783 million tram project will be a central battleground in the 2016 election, with Labor determined to begin construction before the election and lock in future governments with watertight contracts, with the consortium signed up to build and operate it.
The Liberals have vowed to tear up contracts if they win the election, but have not said how much they're prepared to pay in compensation – and the figure could well prove too big to swallow.
The Liberals signalled the importance of the issue to their election strategy on Monday with their first major election commitment – a $146 million project to pay for another 50 buses and make major improvements to Gungahlin roads.
The Liberals said they would duplicate Gundaroo Drive from the Barton Highway into the suburb, and build a new flyover at the Gundaroo Drive and William Slim intersection above the Barton Highway, replacing the current roundabout.
The commitment is the first tranche of the Liberals' alternative to the tram, with Northbourne Avenue announcements expected closer to the election.