The Law of Large Numbers – How much does it cost to stop a freeway?

Big ticket: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews (centre) and treasurer Tim Pallas answering questions about the decision to abandon the East West Link project in April 2015. Joe Castro/AAP Image

Honest figures about cancelling East West Link, with an attempt to include everyone else’s time and expenses.

Inside Story: The Law of Large Numbers by James Murphy (2 July 2018)

If, like me, you’ve been following the fallout from Melbourne’s East West Link freeway fiasco, you will have noticed that the bill for the Andrews government’s decision to stop the project somehow keeps growing. In April 2015, cancelling the contracts was going to cost the state $339 million in compensation. In December 2015, the ABC reported that the price tag had risen to $1.1 billion. Last week the Age had the cost reaching $1.3 billion.

Victorians will be relieved to hear that the real number is nothing like $1.3 billion. Publicly available information shows that the cost directly incurred by cancelling the contracts was $527,600,000 — a lot of money, but less than half the Age’s figure. That’s $339 million in compensation to the private sector for costs incurred (including compo for losing bids to build it); $81 million in bank fees for a facility set up for the project; $217 million in losses on swaps and other hedges; $600,000 spent by the government on legal and consulting fees to get out of the thing; and subtract from that $110 million in cash returned to state coffers. The figure has shifted a little — some of the bank fees and swaps have fluctuated in price or been repurposed for other projects — but it has remained well short of the billion-dollar mark. Read more

Community Consultation on IBAC, Victorian Ombudsman & Auditor-General

Community tunnel picket and friends at the Regent Theatre, 28 August 2014

Community tunnel picket and friends at the Regent Theatre, 28 August 2014

Are you appalled by our democractic processes being steadily undermined by vested interests? Do you remain crapped off by the disgusting East West Link “side letter” and those contracts hastily drafted before the November 2014 state election? Do you remember that Abbott all but approved East West Link back in 2012 before he even stepped foot inside the PM’s office?

Why not utilise this consultation as a platform to get your opinions known – and if you want – we’ll publish your submission on the YCAT site. Continue Reading…

Infrastructure Australia & the East West Link zombie

Spend more, waste more. Australia’s roads in 2014: moving beyond gambling (July 2014)

Spend more, waste more. Australia’s roads in 2014: moving beyond gambling (July 2014)

The Age: East West Link remains a ‘high priority’, says infrastructure umpire

The East West Link has been singled out as a top priority by Australia’s infrastructure umpire, bringing into question a decision by the Andrews government to spend hundreds of millions of dollars axing the contract for the road.

A landmark report by Infrastructure Australia has warned the road link – joining the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway – will be needed in the near future to avoid crippling congestion.

The East West Link zombie has again raised it’s unwelcome presence in a “landmark report” from Infrastructure Australia. Bear in mind, this is IA headed up by Mark Birrell, who is likely a hand-picked LNP placement after Michael Deegan was apparently sent on extended leave in early 2014 by the incoming Coalition government.

Prior to Mr Birrell, in 2014, acting IA head, Mark Fitzgerald tried to withdraw a IA report entitled “Spend more, waste more. Australia’s roads in 2014: moving beyond gambling”

As noted in the media at the time “it’s not often you read a government report with the word “hideously” in it”

Luckily we got a copy, it’s worth reading in context of the last two years and continued push for bullshit projects such as Perth Freight Link and WestConnex. The current integrity of Infrastructure Australia must be questioned in the light of highly politicised processes surrounding these three megaprojects. Continue Reading…

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