AG critical of Vic Govt major projects

Auditor General damning of Andrews major projects performance

Victorian Auditor General’s review of major projects managed by the Andrews Labor Government has “identified a tendency to underestimate costs and over-estimate benefits during projects’ when conceptualising and approving major projects. In major state capital projects, this can have consequences for Victorians such as delays in obtaining needed infrastructure or increased costs to the state.”

The Liberal Nationals have been warning for quite some time that the Andrews Labor Government had lost control of many of its major infrastructure projects. It has failed to scope projects properly, instead flying by the seat of their pants.

The opposition says the Andrews Labor Government is far too secretive about the true cost of infrastructure projects, even failing to publish the 2020-21 State Capital Program (Budget Paper Four), which outlines spending on all capital projects, at last year’s already delayed state budget.

“It is impossible to track spending on individual road and rail upgrades when the government only provides overarching figures of a package of works and refuses to confirm the cost of specific upgrades after they are built”, says a media release from David Davis, Shadow minister for Public Transport and Transport Infrastructure.

The Opposition claims the Andrews government has also not provided the cost of completed level crossings.

“They’ve failed to provide a proper business case for the Suburban Rail Loop — the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history”, Mr Davis added.

“Not publishing Budget Paper Four is the first time in living memory that a government has hidden actual spending on and the expected cost, delivery and completion time of projects”.

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Mr Davis believes when Andrews finally gets around to publishing this year’s State Capital Program, after two years of his government saying ‘nothing to see here’, Victorians can expect a sea of red ink.

“All of which is Labor’s wasted taxpayer dollars and, as the Auditor General has identified, other critical infrastructure items squeezed out”.

Key large transport infrastructure projects are known to have had massive cost blowouts and/or delays.  These include:

  • Metro Tunnel – delays approaching 3 years and a $2.7 billion blowout to a total project cost of nearly $14 billion
  • West Gate Tunnel – delays approaching 3 years and a blowout of around $3 billion
  • Level Crossing Removals – failure to release costs of completed crossings with a blowout of at least $3.1 billion.

The Auditor General’s report can be found at https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/major-projects-performance.