Opposition Demands Audit of Govt Infrastructure Projects

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
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Anthony Albanese
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Federal Labor has asked the Auditor-General to investigate the government’s infrastructure program, arguing there’s been a “systematic failure”.

Opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese requested the audit in a letter to Grant Hehir on Wednesday, in light of Victoria’s East West Link “fiasco”, the collapse of the Perth Freight Link in court and a $7 billion cost blowout on Sydney’s WestConnex project.

It comes weeks after the Auditor-General found former prime minister Tony Abbott did not follow the usual process for approving funding for the East West Link.

The report said Mr Abbott approved $3 billion for the project in May 2014, before the infrastructure department had analysed material and while Infrastructure Australia had “unanswered questions”.

Meanwhile, environmental approval for part of the $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link has been deemed invalid by the West Australian Supreme Court.

“What all these projects have in common is a breakdown in proper analysis and a move away from the evidence-based policy approach that was established under Infrastructure Australia to ensure the most appropriate allocation of commonwealth resources,” Mr Albanese wrote.

Mr Albanese says the government has cut funding for public transport projects and reallocated it to new toll road projects without any cost-benefit analysis.

He says official figures show public infrastructure investment fell 20 per cent since the Coalition was elected.

He’s also called for an investigation of the government’s decision to spend $18 million promoting its infrastructure projects “instead of investing these scarce resources in actual infrastructure”.

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