The Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia have urged the ACT's Liberal opposition party to rethink its plans of shredding light rail contracts if they win the territory elections in 2016.

The party had claimed earlier in 2015 that if it came in power, it would cancel any light rail contracts signed by the present government. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had asked the party to honour the contracts signed during his tenure, but the Canberra Liberals specified that it would tear up the projects and contracts once the current government’s rule comes to an end.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson and shadow transport spokesman Alistair Coe said that the government should not sign the contract until the October 2016 elections.

“If the ACT government is successful at the next election we will drop our opposition to Capital Metro [AIG project]. However, if the Canberra Liberals win the election, we will be free to invest in other infrastructure projects which we believe have more benefit to Canberrans,” the letter said as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald .

Now three prominent business groups are calling for the opposition to change its policies if it takes charge after the elections. BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott co-signed a letter containing the request, along with IPA chief executive Brendan Lyon and AIG chief executive Innes Willox.

“Australia’s executive governments have long observed a tradition – with some regrettable exceptions – of respecting contracts entered into by their predecessors, even where such contracts prove politically inconvenient,” the letter read. It also noted that it would be easier for businesses of all sizes to work in coordination with the government without having to worry about the cancellation of contracts or transformations in arrangements and bill payments.

Lyon said that it was important to attract investment for infrastructure to boost the economy, but the tearing up of light rail contracts would hamper the vision and cost significantly. He added that Australia has no tradition of incoming governments using their law-making powers to let down businesses by not respecting their legal liabilities.Contact the writer at, or let us know what you think below.