Victorian election: Labor vows to fight for $3bn after Tony Abbott threat

Guardian: Victorian election: Labor vows to fight for $3bn after Tony Abbott threat. Oliver Milman. Thursday 27 November 2014

ALP says Victoria would still get funding despite prime minister saying $3bn would be withheld if Labor cancelled East West link

Labor has vowed to scrap the controversial East West link toll road, but the prime minister says Victoria will lose $3bn in funding if it does. Photograph: vic.gov.au

Victorian Labor has vowed to fight the federal government over $3bn that Tony Abbott has said he would withdraw from the state, as the party unveiled its pre-election costings.

The prime minister said he would withhold federal funding for the proposed East West link toll road if Labor won office and followed through with its plan to tear up the project’s contracts.

But Labor, which is ahead in the polls going into Saturday’s election, has insisted that an inter-governmental agreement means Victoria should still be allocated the $3bn if the contract is cancelled. Continue Reading…

Increase powers of Auditor-General

The Age: Increase powers of Auditor-General. November 27, 2014

Editorial

Governments and oppositions make much of holding to account each other’s spending promises. Last Friday, both major parties were arguing with each other on their costings. This is part and parcel of democracy at work.

However, a democracy can only properly thrive when there is independent scrutiny of how public money is spent – without fear of, or favour to, anyone. This role is carried out by the Auditor-General’s office. It is important and vital work.

Therefore, it is with dismay that we note the disquiet aired in today’s Sunday Age, both in a news report and an opinion piece, by the present Auditor-General, John Doyle, and his three immediate predecessors – Des Pearson, Wayne Cameron and Ches Baragwanath – that the ability of the AG’s office to do its work properly is being compromised and undermined.

They question the office’s efficiency in being able “to test whether public money is being spent appropriately and effectively” . Continue Reading…

Victorian state election 2014: Industry gets behind East West Link

Herald Sun: Victorian state election 2014: Industry gets behind East West Link. Paul Gilder. 26 November 2014

Industry groups say the East West Link project is needed to reinvigorate the economy.

Victoria’s transport and industry leaders have urged the winner of Saturday’s state election to commit to the controversial $6.8 billion East West Link project.The resultant easing of traffic congestion and job creation in the construction phase will provide a crucial confidence boost to businesses — many of which say they are still weighing up whether to invest in new workers or expansion plans.

It comes as government sources ­reveal the state would have to pay $1.1 billion in compensation to the project’s builders if it backed out.

With construction slated to begin this year, the Napthine Government is billing East West as an essential alternative to using the Monash, CityLink and West Gate freeways to traverse Melbourne.

Labor leader Daniel Andrews has vowed to ditch the project should he become premier, making it a political football heading into Saturday’s poll. Continue Reading…

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