Election 2020 / Promises, promises and, well, more promises

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Political reporter BELINDA STRAHORN wonders if election commitments are beginning to sound eerily familiar in this week’s “Trailmix” column. 

THIS week the Canberra Liberals pledged they’ll make the ACT’s entire cycle path network road-free by 2030, connecting town centres and employment hubs with off-road cycle paths. Did they miss the Greens’ memo a few short weeks ago when they announced a plan to connect every suburb in Canberra to a well-lit, off-road walking and cycling network? Is this recycled fodder or a trumped announcement? 

Belinda Strahorn.

A PROMISE by the Liberals to lower car rego and scrap after-hours parking fees in ACT government parking lots, sounded a lot like the Belco Party’s vow to ditch paid parking and slash car and trailer rego fees made just a few weeks earlier. One Belco Party candidate went so far as branding the Libs “lazy” and “stealing his plan” after the party’s sports vouchers for kids policy seemed strangely similar to the sports-voucher announcement Belco Party candidate Alan Tutt made. Perhaps it’s just a case of good policy that everyone wants a piece of? Tutt, tutt. 

THE peculiar case of recurring election commitments didn’t end there. Two days after the Liberals announced an election promise to build a “state-of-the-art” hydrotherapy pool in south Canberra, ACT Labor announced its own plans to construct a hydrotherapy pool in Tuggeranong. The Libs said it will partner with the John James Foundation and MS Australia for a hydrotherapy pool to be built in Deakin. Labor’s promise would see them build a hydrotherapy pool in the current Lakeside Leisure Centre facility in Tuggeranong. Regardless of who delivers, the good news is a hydrotherapy pool will be built soon.

WHAT’S the go with most of Labor and the Green’s uncosted election commitments? To date “CityNews” has made countless requests to Labor and the Greens to divulge the costs of announced projects. While the information is forthcoming, most of the time, wouldn’t it make sense to release the costings upfront?

BOTH sides of politics this week took potshots at each other over unfunded election commitments, with Labor and Liberal both seeking to take the high ground on this matter. While both parties are pointing the finger at each other they are equally guilty of concealing the costs of promises to the taxpayer. At one moment we had the Liberals calling Labor’s bluff over the rubberiness of their figures for five new walk-in health centres, the next we had Labor labelling the Libs hypocritical over their failure to cost their rates policy. “CityNews” readers could be forgiven for thinking they both have something to hide. 

Would the real Ellen Browne please stand up? All the Belco Party media releases come from a somewhat mysterious person called Ellen Browne. Neil Hermes, a party volunteer, says she’s a volunteer who sometimes does “secretarial work”. “CityNews” has it on good authority that there is no Ellen Browne, she’s definitely an email nom de plume. “CityNews” had noticed a drop off in press releases issued by the said Ellen Browne since her true identity was called into question.

DID the Greens put the cart before the horse, with their proposal for an express tram service to Woden? The party says it’s committed to getting the light rail over the bridge and into Woden, and when it’s built they want an express option, too. Sounds like a case of ordering the rolling stock before the rail infrastructure has been built. And as to how much the express option would cost, questions from “CityNews” to the Greens on this part of their policy have been met with a deafening silence.

THE Federation Party is calling on all political parties and candidates in the ACT election, to support the Canberra Airport to Eden Rail Project, on a non-partisan basis. Party chair and Brindabella candidate Jason Potter, said the project will provide the ACT and NSW governments positive economic input, significant tourism opportunities and will “breathe life back into all the communities along the rail corridor”. He expects other parties will jump on board soon.

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