East West compo threat ‘trashing state reputation’

The Australian: East West compo threat ‘trashing state reputation’ Rick Wallace The Andrews government has stuck by its threat to legislate to nullify compensation for the ­cancellation of the East West Link project amid fresh attacks from state and federal Coalition frontbenchers over sovereign risk and the state’s international ­reputation. Treasurer Tim Pallas was yesterday forced to defend the government amid revelations in The Australian that the governments of Spain and France had complained about the cancellation of the project on behalf of bidders Acciona and Bouygues. “Obviously when matters of diplomatic moment are raised, they have to be taken seriously,” Mr Pallas said. “They might not like the way that we’re proceeding about it, but I make no apology for protecting the interests of the Victorian taxpayer.” He continued yesterday to insist that a deal to end the dispute with the consortium over compensation was close and would be concluded before the budget on May 5. Mr Pallas did not rule out ­legislating to nullify any right to compensation for the consortium members Bouygues, Acci­ona, Lend Lease and Capella Capital. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said comments from Spain and France made it clear that the government had trashed the state’s reputation as a safe place to ­invest. The federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Jamie Briggs, said the complaints from the two governments showed the damage the government was doing to the state’s reputation.