Canberra Voters Back Light Rail Plan in ACT Poll Win for Labor

Canberra voters gave the green light to a A$940 million ($716 million) light-rail project, after voting to extend the Labor Party’s 15-year hold on power in the Australian Capital Territory.

With about 78 percent of votes counted, Labor had won 11 seats in the 25-member assembly, and was predicted to win at least one more, the ABC reported. The Greens party, which will support Labor, had won one seat and was expected to gain a second electorate to give Labor a majority. The opposition Liberal Party had won 10 seats.

“Tonight we can confidently say that Canberra has voted for light rail,” ACT Chief Minister and Labor leader Andrew Barr told a party rally on Saturday. Labor had campaigned on a pledge to extend the city’s light-rail to the southern suburb of Woden. Stage one of the project, connecting the northern suburb of Gungahlin, is already under way and due for completion in 2018/19.

The Liberal Party, which is in government at the federal level, wanted to ditch the project, instead promising a new hospital and increased investment in the bus network.

The ACT is a self-governing territory of about 390,000 people that encompasses the nation’s capital Canberra.

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