The Money Tunnel

Westconnex cost ‘cover-up’ to end

“An independent mediator this week rejected government claims WestConnex’s business case was privileged.
Former public servant Kerry Schott said government claims disclosing businesses cases would hurt commercial deals was “a complete furphy”.

“traffic projections for proposed toll-roads  in Melbourne and Sydney could be as wrong as the delusory forecasts for collapsed tollroads like the Lane Cove Tunnel due to lack of transparency, experts said.

“All you’re doing is hiding behind some sort of government veil” Anna Wilson manager of the transport practice at consulting firm Frontier Economics , said.
[Jenny Wiggins, The  Australian Financial Review, August 16-17, p.6]

Stupidity spoils any good party (Excerpt)……….

Finally, a major battleground on which the Victorian election will be fought is the $8 billion East West Link project. Dr Napthine’s Government loves the idea, while Labor rejects it on the basis that the money would be better spent on a cross-city rail tunnel.

Leaving aside my personal views on the Link (I think it makes sense to join the Eastern Freeway with the Tullamarine one), any project this big demands a publicly scrutinised business case before large sums of money are committed. Yet for reasons no one outside the state Cabinet understands, access to the business case (which does exist) is blocked by spurious Freedom of Information rules.

How is that a smart idea? If the numbers surrounding the East West Link stack up, the Government should shout them from the rooftops. If, however, the road doesn’t make financial sense, the project should be shelved. But to push ahead while maintaining ill-advised secrecy? That’s politically dumb. Should we be surprised?”

Tom Elliott, Herald Sun, August 16, 2014

“It costs more to build big projects here than in France…and the risks may be putting off some in the private sector.”

  • Sydney’s proposed Westconnex $350m. per km.
  • Paris’s Duplex A86 Motorway $226m. per km.

Leighton’s new Spanish owners , Grupo ACS are reluctant to wade into projects they consider as risky , with chief executive Marcelino Fernandez this week claiming Leighton “didn’t go on “ with a tender for Melbourne’s East West Link tunnel because the geotechnical risks were “not acceptable”.

[ Jenny Wiggins, The Australian Financial Review, August , 1-2.p.18. ]

  • EastWest Link $1,000m per km ($1m per metre)

The cost will be over $5000 from each person in Victoria, not including profits which will be several times that amount.

Someone in Ringwood can get to the Airport quicker.  But users won’t pay a toll that covers those extraordinary costs when there are good alternate routes. So the wider community will pay for this scam.