Slim chance of avoiding East West Link compensation, says lawyers

Herald Sun: Slim chance of avoiding East West Link compensation, says lawyers. Matt Johnston and James Campbell. 26 November 2014

Legal advice says there is little chance of avoiding compensation payouts if the East West Link contract is cancelled.

The “extreme” step of passing laws to break the East West Link contract would be the only way to avoid paying massive compensation to the project builder, according to legal advice.

But that would destroy Victoria’s reputation and could pose other problems including with economic ratings agencies.

Lawyers from Owen Dixon Chambers West and Aickin Chambers provided the advice to the Coalition, about Labor’s plan to ditch the 6.6km road.

Despite the Herald Sun’s revelation that compensation to the builder could be $1.1 billion, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said yesterday Labor wouldn’t pay anything.

“There will be no compensation paid,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government has launched a bid to poach the Abbott Government’s East West Link Stage One cash — worth $1.5 billion — if Labor wins the Victorian election.

In a letter to federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said his state’s WestConnex project could be accelerated with the funding.

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