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The ACT Government has accused the Opposition of trying to hold it to ransom over the future of light rail in the capital.
The Government is proposing to build a light rail system in Canberra, with the first route linking Gungahlin and Civic via the city's main thoroughfare, Northbourne Avenue.
But yesterday the Canberra Liberals confirmed they had written to the two short-listed consortia warning them if they won next year's election they would tear up any contract to build light rail.
The move is expected to cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in compensation to the builders, and so the Liberals have called on the Government to hold off signing the contract until after the election.
But Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell said he would not be held to ransom by the Opposition's demands.
"We have a clear mandate to [build light rail], we have a clear election policy that we're implementing," he said.
"What's important to me is that we get on with the delivery of this project.
"Liberals really should be writing to the hundreds and hundreds of Canberra families who are going to lose jobs and lose opportunity from this project if they tear up these very important contracts."
The minister also called on the opposition to put a figure on how much they would be willing to spend in compensation, despite conceding that arriving at such a cost would be a "complex" task even for the Government.
"It would depend on what stage the contract is at, when and if [cancellation] occurs," Mr Corbell said.
"I don't think the consortia are concerned about these issues, but I think Canberrans should be concerned."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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