As many as 26 projects entered into by the former Liberal government are set to go under the microscope as the new Labour government in that state takes aim at projects initiated by the previous government.
In a joint statement, Premier Mark McGowan and Treasure Ben Wyatt announced that former Under Treasurer John Langoulant AO will head a Commission of Inquiry which will look into the decision-making processes, transparency and financial consequences associated 26 projects entered into by the recently defeated former Liberal government and contracts associated with those projects.
Projects to be examined include the Muja Power Station, the IT upgrade at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Perth Children’s Hospital – each of which suffered delays and cost blowouts.
Performed at taxpayer’s expense, the inquiry will provide ammunition through which the new Labor government will be able to attack the performance of the previous government.
According to the terms of reference, the Inquiry will examine contracts and projects entered into between 2008 (when the former Barnett Liberal government was elected) and March 11, 2017 – when the Liberals were booted out in the WA state election.
Announcing the Inquiry, McGowan and Wyatt said dealings associated with the projects had exposed Western Australians to significant levels of risk, had failed to deliver benefits to taxpayers and had been shrouded in secrecy.
“The Liberals and Nationals refused to answer simple questions about how taxpayers’ money was being spent,” McGowan said.
“They oversaw massive cost blowouts on projects like the Muja power station and the Serco contract at Fiona Stanley Hospital.”
“WA taxpayers have a right to know where all the money went. They need to know how WA has gone from having the best set of finances in the nation, to the worst.”
But Opposition leader Mike Nahan accused McGowan of trying to demonise the former government.
He questioned if the Inquiry would look into the Perth Freight Link Project and whether or not the current government had secretly altered contracts and issued new contracts without going to tender.
Naher says projects such as the Perth Stadium, Elizabeth Quay and the Perth Children’s Hospital had already been examined by the Auditor General.
“If he (McGowan) has a complaint about a project, come out and say it,” Nadar told a press conference.
“Also, if you have a problem with one of the aspects of it, come out and be honest about it.”
“This is just an exercise in trying to demonise the previous government and it is taking the focus away from him.”
The Inquiry will look at lessons to be learned for current and future governments.
A report is expected by the end of October 2017.
Projects to be examined include:
Land and Major Projects
- Elizabeth Quay
- Perth Stadium, including Swan River Pedestrian Bridge
- Land Assets Sales Program
- Ord River Irrigation Expansion Project – Contracts
Royalties for Regions
- Pilbara Accommodation
- Pilbara Underground Power Project
- The Ningaloo Centre
- Bulgarra regional sports complex
- Wanangkura Stadium (Port Hedland multipurpose recreation centre)
- Fiona Stanley Hospital (including the Serco contract)
- Perth Children’s Hospital
- QEII Hospital parking
- Karratha Hospital relocation
- St John of God Midland Public Hospital
- Department of Health – major IT procurement
- Outsourcing of non-clinical services
- NurseWest arrangement
- Muja Power Station
- Synergy – Billing System
- Synergy and Western Power – contracts
- Western Power – Woodlands transmission line
- Western Power – Project Vista
- Road Safety Commission and RugbyWA partnership
- Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme
- Common Use Arrangement for Temporary Personnel Services
- GovNext ICT Project