Reports identify new transport taxes and unnecessary project cost overruns and delays

The focus of the Infrastructure Victoria Report released today on new taxes and revenue should worry Victorians. There are at least 8 new taxes and charges surrounding transport projects. These would come as a further blow to struggling Victorians already hit by Daniel Andrews’ 39 new taxes over recent years.

The introduction of a new ‘Transport Tax Tsar’ the so-called, Independent Transport Pricing Advisor, should chill Victorians as Daniel Andrews and Labor scrape taxes from long suffering Victorians. They will use this Tsar to invent new and innovative ways to take money out of the wallets of already struggling Victorians, particularly road users and other Victorians.

Infrastructure Victoria correctly identifies the need for the missing transport plan that Andrews and Jacinta Allan have failed to produce. Of course we need a transport plan.

The new transport and other tax list includes:

  • Congestion levy expansion (in four separate ways)
  • Price parking at major transport hubs (train stations)
  • Incorporation of congestion pricing for all new metro freeways
  • Removal of the free tram zone
  • User pays road charges
  • New value capture mechanisms
  • New infrastructure contribution approaches
  • Betterment levies

The Auditor General noted in his Report tabled today, Major Infrastructure Program Delivery Capability, that the 30 year plan – Infrastructure Victoria, Infrastructure Strategy – failed to incorporate planning to support skills or other capability, and capability shortages, that impact the Victorian infrastructure pipeline. Today’s IV Report again fails to remedy this deficiency.

VAGO made the point in a briefing on today’s report that the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) had not undertaken a coordination role on the transport infrastructure planning capability. Asked in question time about additional structures he put in place to rein in Jacinta Allan’s lack of cost control – Treasurer Pallas said he had done that. VAGO today said DTF has not done this.

The VAGO report is damming of Labor’s failure to deal with, or even plan for, these material and human resources issues stating:

“The audited agencies are not sufficiently planning for the material and human resources they need to deliver major government infrastructure projects. The consequence of this is that the risk of cost overruns and delays will be higher than it needs to be…

As a result, no agency fully understands the construction sector’s ability to deliver the government’s pipeline, or how effective their work to mitigate resource shortages is. The agencies’ advice does not consistently disclose these knowledge gaps. This reduces the reliability of their advice to government about these risks.”

The Auditor-General also said:

“DoT business cases do not accurately advise the government on the feasibility of its recommended options, timeframes and costs for new projects. This is because DoT does not know the cumulative resourcing impacts of new projects and projects underway across the entire transport pipeline.”

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

“This report is damming of Labor’s capacity and management. It’s no wonder Labor’s infrastructure program is a shambles, no plan, no proper assessment of skill and resource gaps.

“Every major project blows out in cost or time or is otherwise botched. Labor is incompetent with 30 delayed infrastructure projects and so many blowing out.”

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