Victoria’s new $10 million-a-year infrastructure body hasn’t looked at a single one of the state’s major projects.
Infrastructure Victoria was set up to guide the state’s infrastructure agenda and advise on projects, but chief executive Michael Masson told a parliamentary committee it could only do so when the government asked.
So far, Labor hasn’t asked for advice on the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Rail project, the $5.5 billion Western Distributor, the level crossing removal program, the controversial Skyrail proposal or the need for a potential second container port.
“We’re getting on with building the projects that Victorians voted for, in a more transparent manner than any government before us,” a government spokesman said.
The government decided to start work on its major election promises straight away, rather than waiting a year or two for Infrastructure Victoria to be set up to analyse them.
But neither the Western Distributor nor the details of the Skyrail project were taken to the election – they were announced afterwards.
Labor also promised to ask Infrastructure Victoria to decide whether a second container port should be built near Geelong or in Hastings.
That hasn’t happened yet.
Shadow treasurer Michael O’Brien said Premier Daniel Andrews had been in power for 18 months, and Infrastructure Victoria had been in place since October.
“If Daniel Andrews believed in his infrastructure projects, why not submit them to Infrastructure Victoria? Why keep this watchdog muzzled?” Mr O’Brien told reporters.
“He’s now deliberately kept this body away from all his major projects.”
Victoria did send details of the Melbourne Metro, Murray Basin Rail and Western Distributor to Infrastructure Australia for analysis.
But while Infrastructure Australia can assess projects it thinks are needed, Infrastructure Victoria has to wait for the government to refer them.
The body costs $10 million a year and staff are working on a 30-year infrastructure strategy.