Baird Government cutting corners on independent assessment of project viability

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The independent Auditor General has today slammed the Baird Liberal Government for failing to independently assess the viability of large government construction projects at key stages in their lifecycle to ensure value for taxpayers. 

According to the Auditor General, only 30 per cent of the mandatory strategic Gateway reviews and 66 per cent of the mandatory final business case Gateway reviews have occurred for the new construction projects costing $10 million or more included in the 2014-15 Budget Papers.

The Auditor General’s investigation was also unable to test the effectiveness of the NSW capital project assurance system due to significant levels of non-compliance identified.

“The Baird Liberal Government is failing its basic responsibility to ensure that every single dollar of taxpayers’ money is invested in projects that have been independently tested and shown to be beneficial to NSW over their lifecycle,” Shadow Minister for Transport & Infrastructure Ryan Park said.

“Mike Baird is now attempting the risky privatisation of our electricity network under the guise of investing in major infrastructure projects across NSW, however, the Auditor General has now raised serious questions about how this Government goes about these major projects.

“In light of this independent report, there are serious and legitimate questions surrounding how the proceeds of the electricity privatisation will be invested in projects and whether they will be thoroughly assessed and will deliver value to taxpayers.

“My concern that is in Mike Baird’s rush to privatise the network and spend the proceeds he’ll keep cutting corners and we’ll end up with second rate infrastructure that could have been avoided if the independent reviews undertaken as the government’s assurance system demands.

“We’ve already seen the Auditor General rip the assessment process for the $15 billion WestConnex motorway project to shreds in his scathing review of that project.

“Mike Baird and the Liberals seriously need to lift their game and ensure that every single major government project is being independently assessed at every point during the approval process.”