CBD AND SOUTH EAST LIGHT RAIL PROJECT IN SHAMBLES

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A scathing independent report out today has pointed to shambolic mismanagement of the CBD and South East Light Rail Project (CSELR) which has led to delays, cost blow-outs and a lack of transparency.

The NSW Auditor-General has slammed the Baird Government for inadequate planning of the CSELR project which will not deliver value for money.

The report highlighted poor planning of the project began from the outset under then Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian. It outlines that “between 2011 and 2014, TfNSW did not effectively plan and procure the CSELR project to ensure it maximised value for money for NSW.”

The Government has been forced to dip into contingency funds with the cost of the CSELR having already blown out from $1.6 billion to $2.1 billion. The Auditor-General is today calling for an updated budget to be made public by December 2016.

Shockingly, half a billion dollars ($517 million) of that blow-out “was caused by mispricing and omissions in the business case”, which demonstrates a complete lack of planning and understanding by the Government on the details of the project.

The report reveals two compulsory gateway assurance reviews of the project were skipped and the business case was never independently assessed.

The Auditor-General has also pointed out that project mismanagement is endemic of the Baird Government; concluding that the CSELR suffers the same planning problems that have plagued “WestConnex, large construction projects and the Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter Walkway”.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“This project is in a shambles and is plagued with the same issues as WestConnex and the Tibby Cotter Bridge. NSW is not getting value for money.

“This is Berejiklian’s Blow-Out; it’s costing taxpayers a half a billion dollars more than it should.

“It’s all about the Libs getting to cut a ribbon at the next state election. That’s why we’ve had corners and timeframes cut.

“This is a scathing report that spells out in black and white that the Baird Government doesn’t know what it’s doing with this project.”

Quotes attributable to Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Planning Michael Daley

This light rail project has been Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian’s baby from day one and they have to take responsibility for the fact that public money has been wasted.

“Every infrastructure project that Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian are running is a huge secret. It took the Auditor-General to discover and report on what a mess this project is.

“With the enormous amount of public money Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian are spending, how do we know they’re not wasting billions on these other mismanaged and wayward projects?

“Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian need to issue the full business cases and assurance reports on every project they are building now. If they refuse the public is entitled to assume they are hiding something.”