Independent assessment of light rail jobs figures supports 3,500 number

An independent assessment commissioned by UnionsACT confirms that over 3,500 jobs will be created as a result of the construction of light rail.

More importantly, the assessment finds that the transformation of the Gungahlin corridor will generate thousands of jobs in the private sector knowledge economy and service industry over the long term.

The assessment, prepared by Dr. Sasha Holley, expert in employment economics, calls light rail transit (LRT) “a transformative project for revitalising private sector economic and employment opportunities in Canberra”.

The report states:

The LRT project is a bold and visionary step toward diversifying the Canberra economy; one in which workers will be less reliant on the vagaries of public service employment policies. A successful project will see the Canberra economy expand and diversify as knowledge workers move into the attractive, connected and convenient Gungahlin corridor, and less skilled workers follow to provide support services (e.g. restaurants, entertainment and other services) for the new knowledge economy.

The assessment report is available for download at www.canberraneedsjobs.org.au or http://bit.ly/cbrneedsjobs.

UnionsACT’s brief to Dr Holley was to independently assess the existing reports and business cases in the public domain regarding light rail, both supportive and critical, and especially to examine the credibility of the economic and employment claims made in those reports.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, Secretary of UnionsACT:

“This independent assessment has looked at the claims made about light rail with a critical eye.

“Simply put, the figure of 3,500 jobs during the construction phase and thousands of further jobs resulting from the transformation of the corridor is credible and probably conservative.

“The jobs that will be created by light rail are both from the direct construction work, and the economic stimulus caused as a result of development along the corridor.

“UnionsACT supports the creation of secure, safe jobs for Canberra.

“The ACT especially needs a major jobs stimulus at this time, after more than 7,000 jobs were wrecked by the Abbott government.

“Beyond the essential short-term boost to jobs that light rail will create, the long term economic benefits of the project will be substantial.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about light rail. It is important to get an independent view about this project, which is why we commissioned Dr Holley to undertake this assessment.

“What this independent assessment confirms is that light rail will stimulate significant job creation in the private sector, and help diversify our economy.”