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Subject: Thurs.7.3.19 daily digest
Melbourne Express, Thursday, March 7, 2019
8.56 A much better day on the train network than yesterday's horror-show.
Letter to the editor: The design that "summons a bleak reminder of that tear-filled childhood birthday party you had the year Daddy left,” according to CityLab. So a new moquette will replace the seat fabric on all trams, trains and buses in Victoria over the next five to 10 years (The Age, 5/3). A bright orange will be used for priority seats, to make them more visible, for people who have a disability or are pregnant. Is this a joke? The hideous orange is more likely to make a pregnant woman sick than provide her with relief. Stick to the blue for all forms of transport, and maybe the green ones can be for priority seats.
6.50 Route 75 trams towards Docklands are diverting via Swan St between Stop 29 Riversdale Junction & Stop 6 Russell St (an ill passenger). Burwood Rd passengers consider trains from Hawthorn. Bridge Rd passengers consider route 48 trams.
Buses will partly replace Route 1 trams between Stop 129 Moreland Rd and East Coburg until the last tram tonight (works)
5.57 After a horror morning on the train network yesterday, fingers crossed it’s a smooth one today. All clear at the moment.
Thurs.7.3.19 Metro Twitter
6.49 Apart from the 6.46 ex Pakenham originating from Westall at 7.25, all three lines are running normally at present.
8.02 Belgrave/Lilydale lines: Minor delays (an equipment fault near Box Hill).
- 8.12 Announcement 'stopping all stations train please move to platform 2'; 5 minutes later the train arrived on platform 1.
- 8.25 And then the obligatory announcement 3 days in a row now that the train is being redirected at Richmond because of ‘late running’. Don’t worry about the further delays and inconvenience caused to passengers.
- Was this announcement on a specific train or at a station? If trains are running late because of a disruption, they can lose their timetabled slot through the loop - and it can cause further delays to other trains if a late running train continues through the loop. [coverup nonsense; any following train at Richmond is already a signal block behind; reversing at Flinders St is supposed to cause even more congestion].
10.45 Minor delays Dandenong - Pakenham (police attending to a trespasser).
- 10.56 Trains are on the move, with minor delays.
10.54 Upfield line: Major delays (an [unexplained] operational incident near Gowrie). Trains may [ie certainly will] terminate/originate at Coburg.
- 11.42 Add replacement buses.
- 11.44 consider alternatives, such as: Bus route 530 Campbellfield – Coburg; Bus route 534 Glenroy – Coburg; Bus route 540 Upfield – Broadmeadows; tram route 19.
- 12.10 Trains are resuming; delays are clearing.
13.44 Cranbourne/Pakenham lines: Minor delays (an ill passenger requiring ambulance assistance at Caulfield).
- 14.11 clearing.Alamein/Belgrave/Lilydale lines: Buses replace trains Burnley - Box Hill from 21.30 until the last train of Mon 11 Mar ([unspecified] station 'upgrade' works). Trains will operate Camberwell - Alamein, to an altered timetable. There are three tiers of bus operation:
- stopping at all stations Burnley - Camberwell.
- express Burnley - Camberwell, then stopping at all stations.
- express Parliament - Box Hill between 4.45 and 21.55 on Fri 8 Mar.
Journeys will be prolonged by 60 min. [Did Metro enhance service on the Glen Waverley line?]
Passengers with special needs contact you local station in advance, or ask staff at the replacement bus stops to organise travel.
For the safety [the universal coverup] and comfort of all passengers, there are restrictions on what you may take with you on buses. You cannot:
- Take a conventional bike on a bus or tram (only folding bikes that meet the size criteria).
- Take an animal on a bus or tram unless it is in a suitable container. Exceptions apply for assistance dogs.
- Take a surfboard on a tram or a bus.
At Box Hill, buses use Whitehorse Rd, not the bus 'interchange'.
- How long will it take to get from Richmond to Belgrave this Friday evening? Last week starting at 21.30, it took 2.5 hours.
- Arrogant metro gets worse and worse. It has never once run an effective bus replacement: insufficient buses, overcrowed, and poor connections. Up to privatisation, the work could be done with trains still running.
- What time is the last train [ie 21.30 ex Flinders St, or 21.30 ex Burnley]?
- 8.3 Sign says Burnley, announcement says Parliament. Either way it is faster to walk this morning.
Frankston line: Buses replace trains South Yarra - Moorabbin tonight from 23.00 until the first train on Friday (urgent third-party works). Passengers for Caulfield and beyond, take a Sandringham train to Elsternwick. Passengers South Yarra - Caulfield, take a Sandringham train to South Yarra. [Did Metro enhance the Sandringham service?]
Cranbourne/Pakenham lines: Buses replace trains South Yarra - Westall from 23.15 until the first train on Friday (urgent third-party works). Passengers for Caulfield and beyond, take a Glen Waverley train to Darling. Passengers for South Yarra - Caulfield, take a Sandringham train to South Yarra. [Did Metro enhance the service on either line?]
- Late change: the replacement is extended to Dandenong.
Too hot to handle: Sunshine State residents shun walking due to heat March 6, 2019. 16 comments
One in three Queenslanders avoid walking because it is too hot.
More than 2600 Queenslanders shared their thoughts on stepping out, which will inform a 10-year Queensland Walking Strategy, to be released later this year.
Almost two in four Queenslanders said they walked for recreation and exercise.Credit:Michelle Smith
As part of an extensive consultation process, a survey revealed the factors that stopped people from walking were that it was too hot (35 per cent), places they liked to go were too far away (26 per cent) and they did not have enough time (22 per cent).
To get them walking more often, people wanted more connected paths, more shade, smooth and even surfaced paths and greater separation from traffic.
It echoes comments from outgoing South Bank Corporation chair Catherin Ball who last year said the walking experience in Brisbane was ugly, hot and left pedestrians exposed to traffic.
Almost one-third of the respondents said they would walk more if there were more seats along paths to take a rest, while one in four said they wanted more lighting and wider paths.
More than 80 per cent of people said they were motivated to walk for physical health reasons, while half said they enjoyed walking and found it relaxing, and because it was good for their mental health.
Almost half of the respondents were fans of active travel, saying they walked to get somewhere, such as work, school, shops or public transport.
Some Brisbane residents wanted to ban cars from more streets in the CBD, while several people called for more pedestrian bridges to be built, including from Toowong to West End, Kangaroo Point to Alice Street in the CBD and from New Farm.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said encouraging more people to walk was one of the simplest ways to keep people healthy.
"Governments have a role to play by providing facilities for people of all ages and abilities when they plan public spaces," he said.
"When we talk about walking, we mean jogging, running, and moving with the aid of a mobility device, such as a wheelchair or a walking frame."
Mr Bailey said the state government worked with councils to reduce speed limits and encourage pedestrian-friendly environments.
Feedback from pedestrians in Brisbane:
•"Pedestrian green man signals to stay green as long as possible in Brisbane CBD. Roma Street and Turbot is the worst, especially the pedestrian crossing on the north-west side near court buildings."
•"For exercise and to the shops: pedestrian and bike bridge from Toowong to West End."
•"Build the missing pedestrian bridge that was promised by BCC from Kangaroo Point to Alice Street, City."
•"More overhead coverage along inner-city walking routes to provide some level of protection from rain in and around the CBD."
•"Pedestrian bridges – particularly at the bottom of New Farm and/or other suburbs on the inner outskirts of Brisbane. If there was a pedestrian bridge I could walk to work (two kilometres) but because there is not, I have to take my car up and around the city and it's an 8-kilometre drive."
•"Reducing traffic in the Brisbane CBD – more carless streets!"
•"Better shade along the Riverwalk."
•"Consider changing some streets in the CBD to one-way only and using the spare road capacity for pedestrians/cyclists."
•"Water bubblers needed along walking routes."
•"Slower car speeds in the CBD, or roads changed to pedestrian malls like Albert Street, and others."
A Queensland Walking Summit will be held at the Queensland University of Technology on March 14, with about 100 representatives from walking, bike riding, health accessibility, academic and education organisations due to attend.
Related Article The shared pathway behind the Wharves is hazardous to cyclists and pedestrians, Space for Cycling Brisbane says. State of Howard Smith Wharves path 'not acceptable', Quirk says.
Opposition calls for government to come clean on airport link 'toxic' soil problem March 6, 2019. 1 comment.
The state opposition is calling on Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to come clean over the extent of contamination in soil unearthed by tunnelling work on the Forrestfield Airport Link project.
Opposition environment spokesman Steve Thomas said government had been downplaying the level of toxicity in the soil at the same time the Peel Development Commission's former deputy chairman Greg Poland was in talks about a potential deal to dump spoil from the project in Waroona.
A tunnel boring machine on the new Forrestfield-Airport link, but questions are being asked over contamination of soil in the project.Credit:WA Government
But Ms Saffioti said the Liberals were aware of the issue when they were in government and there was no record of them outlining the risks and implications when they chose to tunnel.
Although Ms Saffioti said the government had been transparent about the contamination – it was first detected in 2015 and the concentration of toxic substances published on government websites – Mr Thomas said there were fresh questions Ms Saffioti needed to answer after the resignation of Mr Poland last week.
"My understanding is that the contractors and sub-contractors were briefing the government as far back as the middle of 2017 to say you have a significant waste problem you're going to have to deal with," he said.
"The government has lied to everybody for nearly two years now suggesting there's nothing to see here.
"It is time for them, for the first time in this process, to actually be open and accountable.
"When did they first become aware, how aware have they been – because obviously they're now trying to find a secret, illegal way to dump this waste – and how did we get to this stage?
"We need every bit of this story to be told."
Mr Poland's lawyer said last week the cost of dealing with contaminated sand from the Forrestfield Airport Link project was estimated at $300 million.
"There are facilities within the Peel region that would accommodate the necessary disposal of between 2-8 million tonnes of contaminated sand," Mr Poland's lawyer said.
"This could be done in a manner that was safely dealt with presumably under Department of Mines or other governmental supervision."
A briefing note on the project tabled in Parliament said the cost of dealing with per- and poly- flouroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination was $155 million, but could be as much as $320 million.
But it is understood the government maintains the soil dug out of the Forrestfield Airport Link tunnels is no more toxic than that found elsewhere in urban areas and the concentration of PFAS is minor compared to contamination on found near Commonwealth defence bases.
"This government has been transparent in its approach to this matter and handled many media enquiries about it," Ms Saffioti said.
"The 2018 State Budget papers also stated, 'There is a risk that the Forrestfield-Airport Link project may exceed its approved budget. Spoil (i.e. excavated soil) from tunnelling has been found to contain minor concentrations of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)'.
"The figure provided in the briefing note was a worst-case scenario estimate if all the spoil was disposed of at a licensed landfill site."
Ms Saffioti said the state government was working with the environmental agencies and the federal government to avoid a worst-case costs scenario.
"Given the state’s agreement with the National Environmental Management Plan for PFAS (which allows for reuse of the material) the government continues to look at options for the use of the spoil with the federal government and relevant state agencies," she said.
"There has already been some progress, with the PTA working positively with Perth Airport with a view to them taking the bulk of the soil for use under the proposed third runway. The NorthLink project has also used some of the soil as fill material for two interchanges.
"The reused soil meets the strictest health standards in the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan and has been deemed to have no health risk."
Ms Saffioti said it was the Commonwealth's responsibility to manage contamination on sites such as defence bases or airports, but they had not agreed to the transfer of the soil, including that excavated from under airport land, to the airport site for storage and later use.
Last week, after Mr Poland's resignation from the Peel Development Commission board, its chairwoman Paddi Creevey said the organisation had been approached by business to discuss land use matters in the Peel, including the potential to accommodate spoil from the Forrestfield airport link project.
"The Public Transport Authority has advised that the Peel region is not suitable for spoil disposal," she said.
"The Peel Development Commission will therefore not be pursuing this matter any further."
But Mr Thomas said the government had failed to meet its promise to be transparent and the opposition would be pursuing them in Parliament when it resumed next week.
"There is enough toxic mud floating around here for every minister involved, particularly I would think for the transport minister, who has some very serious questions to answer," Mr Thomas said.
"As far as I can see, they've identified a serious contamination issue and they've done everything they can to hide it and pretend it wasn't real."
Related Mr Poland resigned from his position on the Peel Development Commission board following questions raised about an unorthodox meeting held in January. Big donor quits board after plan to dump millions of tonnes of toxic soil in Peel region revealed.
Letters to the editor March 7, 2019.
* Global warming Well, how did we all enjoy this summer's record weather? Warm enough for you? More to come next year and thereafter.
Even if we all did all the right things tomorrow the world would still get increases for some decades to come.
Recently, on the ABC's Foreign correspondent Dr Lomborg notes that persistent calls for collective and personal action on climate change have been ineffective. He then claims that with geoengineering we can set the global temperature to "whatever we want". And therein lies the problem, who is "we", how to decide on what temperature "we" want and how to enforce it. So the question for me is what is required to adapt to these changes and will our governments do enough.
Public housing 'answer'. The article "government vows to fix unintended consequences of vacancy tax" (March 6, p1) indicates that the ACT government will act to fix any unintended consequences of the Greens-sponsored ACT vacancy tax legislation. Surely there is a more fundamental and democratic issue at stake here.
Why should families who are posted overseas or grey nomads who desire to travel for an extended period or for that matter any other property owner who wishes to keep their principal property vacant whilst they are away from it, be, in effect by this law, forced to rent it out?
That said, owners will also have further reservations about renting out their principal property given the more stringent conditions now placed on property owners in tenancy agreements.
If the Barr government wants to redress the lack of rental properties in Canberra, surely the solution is to increase the number and diverse configurations of public housing instead of relying on an ACT vacancy tax mechanism.
* We deserve better The ACT government should consider the views of Professor Hensher, founding director of Sydney University's Institute of Transport and Logistics, in its planning of Canberra's transport system.
Professor Hensher observed "There's the old adage that buses are boring, trains are sexy. Trains might be more comfortable, but they come at a much higher cost of construction and (there are) a limited number of corridors in which we can justify them (in Sydney)."
The Productivity Commission found light rail was not warranted in Canberra and the ACT Auditor-General also found there were major deficiencies in its business case.
Barr, Rattenbury and Fitzharris are now advocating its extension to Woden in the absence of evidence of how it stacks up against alternatives including busways. One would expect a responsible government to intensely scrutinise any light rail project given the marginality of the Gungahlin to Civic and Newcastle projects and the farce of the Sydney CBD light rail which is expected to open more than a year late and $1 billion over budget.
The Canberra community deserves better.
* CLARITY ON TREES As the city braces for the official launch of the light rail stage one, it is time for the government to provide some clarity about the fate of the historic trees along Commonwealth Avenue if stage two is to go ahead. Canberrans are for progress, but the loss of our garden city character is a real concern for most citizens.
Police investigate after woman groped at Flinders Street Station March 7, 2019.
video CCTV: Alleged groper at Flinders Street
Police search for a man who allegedly groped a 26-year-old passenger at Flinders Street station while she was waiting for an Upfield train.
Police are hunting for a man after a woman was sexually assaulted as she left Flinders Street Station earlier this year.
The 26-year-old woman arrived at the station on platform 4 on an Upfield line train about 6.50pm on January 19.
An image of the man police wish to speak to in relation to a sexual assault at Flinders Street Station. Credit:Victoria Police
As she left the station she was approached by two men.
Police say one of the men touched her inappropriately from behind multiple times, before they both ran off towards Swanston Street.
The man is described to be Caucasian, aged in his 20s and about 168 centimetres tall.
The incident follows of a spate of sexual assaults on the state's public transport system.
Last year, police made five appeals for information in three weeks after five men allegedly exposed themselves, or performed lewd acts, in front of women on Melbourne trains.
An image of the man police wish to speak with over a sexual assault at Flinders Street Station. Credit:Victoria Police
Two schoolgirls were also allegedly sexually assaulted and violently attacked by the same man within a day of each other on the same bus route in Melbourne's south-east in September last year.
In August, a man allegedly masturbated in front of a woman and then punched another woman, on the 86 tram in Melbourne’s inner north.
The number of sexual offences on public transport reported to Victoria Police rose by 40 per cent in 2016-17 to 350 - up from 249 reports the year before.
The offences included sexual assault, obscene exposure and other lewd behaviour – and were mostly reported on trains.
Investigators have released images and CCTV footage of two men police believe may be able to assist with their enquiries over the January 19 incident at Flinders Street Station.
Anyone who recognises this man or who may have witnessed this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
NSW Greens propose $1 metro fares to 'revolutionise' public transport system March 7, 2019. 34 comments
The Liberals have promised millions for high speed rail studies, and Labor says it will make public transport free for school kids.
Now the NSW Greens have upped the stakes on grand election promises of the transport variety, with a policy to slash Opal fares on metro trains, buses and ferries to $1.
NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong says the policy will "revolutionise" the public transport system.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
It sounds too good to be true - and the government is emphatic it is - but the NSW Greens are confident their sums add up.
The Greens estimate their "$1 fares for everyone" policy would cost $750 million per year, and say it would be largely offset by increased patronage on the public transport system and by relocating funds from the state's roads budget.
Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said the "ambitious plan" would "transform our cities and revolutionise our transport system".
"Instead of putting money into private toll roads and seeing billions spent on roads, we want to change the focus and put public transport back at the heart of solutions for how people get around this city," Ms Leong said.
Unable to access the independent parliamentary budget office to cost their policy - which provides costing for the major parties - the Greens have devised their own funding proposal.
They say the scheme would be funded by siphoning $200 million from the budgeted capital expenditure on roads, reallocating at least $200 million from Labor's proposed M4 cashback scheme, and increasing the carparking levy by $100 million.
The Greens say an increase in patronage due to cheaper fares would bring in a further $112 million.
Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker said he wasn't concerned that increased patronage would further burden Sydney's train and bus network.
"There will be a significant increase in patronage but there's nothing to suggest we'd see a doubling or tripling of patronage," Mr Parker said.
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Andrew Constance slammed the plan as "reckless magic pudding economics".
"Taxpayers already subsidise around 75 per cent of the true cost of public transport. For the Greens to suggest $1 Opal fares are a feasible option for public transport is ludicrous," the spokeswoman said.
"The NSW Liberals and Nationals government has kept Opal fares below CPI since we came into government and we have no intention of changing this."
Related Article The Berejiklian government is banking on the Sydney Metro project. Old, crowded trains and maxed-out credit: Will the Sydney metro project sway voters?
<www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/nsw-greens-propose-1-metro-fares-to-revolutionise-public-transport-system-20190307-p512g4.html>MPs seize on power hardship to renew coal push March 7, 2019.
A record number of households are being forced onto hardship programs to pay off their electricity bills as they struggle to cope with rising power prices.
A group of Coalition backbenchers have seized on the new data to bolster their push for the government to help build new coal-fired power plants, claiming it would help drive down prices.
The Australian Energy Regulator's latest electricity retailer report, released this week, shows 80,437 households had sought help with their bills since June 30. That was up 17 per cent, from 68,832, for the same period the previous year.
video Drop the 'big stick' energy rhetoric
EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna tells the AFR Energy Summit governments should trust the experts and work with, not against, industry to fix energy.
"It is a significant increase in the number of people requiring assistance, suggesting that more people are struggling to pay their bills," the regulator said.
The revelation has sparked fresh calls from government MPs for it to revive its ditched ''big stick'' energy policies which were shelved in the face of opposition from Labor and crossbenchers.
Queensland Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd said the government needed to reintroduce its energy policies and support more coal-fired power to bring down bills..
Mr O'Dowd was one of six MPs who called on the Morrison government on Thursday to revive its shelved ''big stick'' legislation and build new coal-fired power stations to make cheaper electricity.
"People and businesses are entering hardship, they can't pay bills because of high power prices. A new coal-fired power station will help drive down costs," he told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
"The government has got the right policies; we've got to drive forward with them."
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the government had developed new policies to cut power prices.
"I am aware of reports of electricity customers entering hardship programs. It is essential these customers get the support they need," Mr Taylor said..
"The Morrison government has demanded the big energy companies put their customers first."
Hardship programs are repayment plans run by retailers designed to support households that are unable to pay their power bills on time. They are used instead of disconnecting their electricity.
The Australian Energy Regulator report found the average level of energy debt for households accessing the assistance programs on the east coast - excluding Victoria - had nearly doubled in the past four years, from $575 in 2014 to $1146 in the latest numbers.
The Australian Energy Market Commission has forecast average annual power bills of $1294 for NSW in 2018-19 and $1375 for Queensland households, while Victorians are forecast to have average power bills of $1096 for 2019.
Just one in four households under the energy regulator's jurisdiction – which includes NSW, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania – are successfully completing the hardship programs. This is still an improvement on the 21 per cent completing the programs last year.
Victoria is not included as it has its own energy regulator, the Essential Services Commission, which said last month that the number of households entering hardship programs in that state rose 25 per cent over the 2018 financial year.
St Vincent de Paul's policy and research manager, Gavin Dufty, said these programs could help households get back on track and cut energy debts.
"We're seeing more people struggling to pay their bills due to the rising price of electricity," Mr Dufty said.
"While it's great more people are getting help, for some, getting into a hardship program is just delaying the inevitable [disconnection]."
The AER has been pushing households to enter their retailer's hardship programs as energy debt levels rise, rolling out a new safety net to create a minimum standard to protect struggling customers.
"We know that more people are going into these [hardship] programs, but fewer people are successfully completing them," AER chairman Paula Conboy has previously said.
"This is why the AER is doing more work in this area to establish a 'hardship guideline' to further strengthen the protections available to consumers."
Tasmanians have the highest level of hardship debt for the year to date, at $1605. South Australia, which has the highest electricity bills in the country, had an average debt of $1548.
The AER said Tasmania had a higher rate of electricity hardship debt as households in the state had less gas compared to other states, so had to spend more on electricity.
Related Article The level of household energy debt rose to new levels last year. Energy regulator proposes safety net for households struggling with high power bills
Commonwealth backs State Circle route for light rail stage two March 7, 2019. 67 comments.
The second stage of light rail is increasingly likely to travel from Civic to Woden via State Circle instead of the Parliamentary Triangle, after the findings of a federal inquiry into the project were endorsed by the Coalition government.
The brakes are finally set to come off planning for the next leg of Canberra's light rail, after the Commonwealth tabled its formal response to a federal parliamentary committee report.
It appears less and less likely that the second stage of light rail will travel past Old Parliament House.
The report warned the ACT government's chosen route through Barton would "unavoidably add further complexity, time, and cost to the project".
Instead, the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories said the ACT government should use the routes already laid out in the National Capital Plan for intertown public transport, specifically State Circle.
If the territory still chose to take light rail through Barton and the Parliamentary Triangle, the committee said there should be a more complex approvals process, recognising the national significance of the area.
The federal government agreed or agreed in principle to each of the committee's six recommendations, which also included that designated areas of light rail be wire-free to minimise the visual impact on the parliamentary zone..
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Sussan Ley said the recommendations provided "clarity" for the project going forward.
“Following the tabling of this report, the Australian Government encourages the National Capital Authority and the ACT government to continue working together to ensure that the proposed route for the project is consistent with the National Capital Plan," Ms Ley said.
“Canberra is more than just a city; it is home to some of the nation’s most significant institutions and buildings and is filled with examples of our heritage and national identity. That is why it is so essential that the unique character of the nation’s capital is preserved for all Australians."
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said: "It’s great to see the Commonwealth Government giving guidance and support to stage two of light rail from Civic to Woden."
"We welcome the Commonwealth’s approach to the heritage of the parliamentary zone, noting that heritage is something the ACT government is determined to maintain and enhance in the area," she said.
"We look forward to working with the Commonwealth government, the National Capital Authority and the Canberra community on the best way to deliver light rail to Woden as soon as possible."
The bipartisan joint standing committee report from October said concluded the National Capital Plan could be considered as "in-principle" approval for light rail routes, and following that would mean the project could be approved faster.
The plan allows for an intertown public transport system along Kings and Commonwealth Avenues and State Circle but not across the Parliamentary Triangle, like the ACT government's preferred route does.
But at the time, Ms Fitzharris said the government would still pursue a route through Barton even though obtaining approvals would be more complex. Her officials said the Barton dogleg had been endorsed overwhelmingly through a public survey and travelled past more cultural institutions and workplaces.
However ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr later said he would not allow "perfect to be the enemy of good" in getting the project approved, opening the door to a "compromise" route using State Circle.
Mr Barr said his government would make a final call once the federal government published its response to the joint standing committee report.
They kept both options alive by preparing Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Referrals for both routes, a requirement for the project to proceed.
But the delay in the federal government response meant they had to postpone much of the planning work. Documents tabled last month in the assembly showed $4.8 million of consultancy work had to be postponed due to the uncertainty around the Commonwealth's reply.
The State Circle option was strongly backed by the ACT Property Council and the Woden Valley Community Council, although the Public Transport Association of Canberra felt the long term benefits of light rail would have been better realised with the Barton route.
However, the State Circle route is not without its challenges.
The steep gradient from State Circle to Adelaide Avenue could be a problem, early analysis has shown, and the curvature of the road also makes the placement of stops challenging.
It's also unclear whether the light rail would travel east or west around State Circle on that prospective route.
WA's big polluters targeted by tough new emissions guidelines March 7, 2019..