Budget The Nationals Danny O'Brien Auditor-General report

Labor metro blow-out could fund Princes Highway

The Labor party’s inability to manage major projects has again hurt Victorians with a $150 million blow-out on the metro rail project that could have been put to better use including funding the duplication of the Princes Highway to Sale.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said an Auditor-General’s report yesterday revealed the scale of the cost blow-out on the early works for the metro rail tunnel.

“This $150 million cost blow-out is further evidence of Labor’s inability to manage money and major projects.

“We’ve seen this time and time again whether it’s with myki, the desalination plant or the north south pipeline and now with a suite of current government activity including the metro rail tunnel and level crossing removals.

“This is not only hurting Victorian taxpayers, it means that other important projects are delayed or simply don’t proceed.

“In our case this blow-out alone would pay for the state’s share of the Princes Highway duplication three times over.

“This is a significant waste of money at a time when Gippslanders are crying out for important projects to be completed.”

Mr O’Brien also took the opportunity in recent hearings of the Public Accounts and Estimates committee to quiz the Treasurer on why the Princes Highway project wasn’t included in the State Budget.

“It’s so galling to hear the Government constantly complain about lack of Federal funding for infrastructure in Victoria but here we have $132 million on the table from the Commonwealth and State Labor won’t stump up its share to get the final two stages completed.

“Bizarrely the Treasurer said the funding will only be provided when it was deemed that the Princes Highway project was a ‘preferred repository of capital funds of the state’.  What does that even mean?  It’s a further indication of just how out of touch the Treasurer and this Government are.

“They should be funding the $33 million needed for the Princes Highway duplication. It should have been done in last year’s budget, it should have been done in last week’s budget and it should be done as quickly as possible.”

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