A budget of failed cost control and infrastructure blowouts

The 2021-22 State Budget is where the financial chickens start to come home to roost with literally dozens of transport infrastructure projects blowing out.

The cost blowouts on key transport infrastructure projects total billions individually, and blowouts on smaller projects in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Victorians are the ones paying for these failures through new and increased family and small business taxes.

The Metro Tunnel is now more than $3 billion, approaching $4 billion, over budget with the risk of further blowouts – so serious, a special dispute resolution procedure has been devised.

The West Gate Tunnel began as a small slip road but, even from the base of the revised project cost, is massively over budget with legal disputes pending.

Key country rail projects like the Murray Basin Rail Project have been botched by the Andrews Labor Government.

Finally, Andrews and his hapless Transport Infrastructure Minister, Jacinta Allan, have admitted a budget blowout of $227 million for a vastly descoped and downgraded project.

Other country projects like the Ballarat Line upgrade have blown out by $114 million and the Regional Rail Revival projects which are 90 per cent funded by the Federal Government have been monumentally mismanaged with the blowout on the Bendigo-Echuca Line $84 million, the Warrnambool Line $36 million, the Gippsland Line $97 million.

City road projects are red ink wherever you look. The Mordialloc Freeway has blown out $223 million from the original promise, the Plenty Road Stage 2 upgrade $40 million and the Yan Yean Road upgrade $31 million. Even the Hallam Road upgrade blew out by $8.5 million. 

Key city rail infrastructure like the Frankston Line Seaford Stabling Project has surged from the promised $197 million to $240 million, an almost $53 million blowout. Other city rail projects the Labor Government has lost control of include the conventional signalling upgrade promised at $360 million but now listed at $608 million, a $248 million blow out.

The Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 has blown out by $352 million. The High Capacity Metro Train costs have blown out by $67.476 million, another example of the Andrews Labor Government’s failed scoping and contract management.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis:

“Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan can’t manage money or major projects. Their cost control has failed. 

“Consequently, dozens of transport infrastructure projects have blown out adding to Victoria’s debt burden and they’ve chosen to increase taxes to pay for them.

“Warnings about the government’s failed scoping process have not been heeded. Tighter control of business cases and sharper tendering is required.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:

“The Andrews Labor Government has no control over the budget. Its cost blowouts hurt the hip pocket of every Victorian who has to fork out more in taxes to pay for it.

“Victorians are being let down by Labor having no plan and with budget blowouts in the billions, waste and mismanagement, putting our economic recovery at risk.”

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