The McGowan Government has rolled out another round of excuses for its pet project METRONET with admissions it can’t guarantee further blowouts to the cost of the project.
“The construction bill for METRONET has nearly quadrupled since the 2017 election, growing from $3 billion to approximately $11.5 billion today, with further escalations likely. It’s clear the McGowan Government has lost control of this project,” Shadow Minister for METRONET Tjorn Sibma said.
“The project management of METRONET has been off the rails for some time and the immediate financial implications of this mismanagement are extraordinary. The frustrating aspect is that this outcome was entirely predictable.”
Mr Sibma said it was extraordinary to hear the Transport Minister say this morning that she was content with the progress of the project, given it was on average four years late, with works originally scheduled for completion this year.
“All we have heard is a string of excuses about the delays while the project costs continue to spiral out of control.
“The admission from the Premier yesterday about the likelihood of more increases raises questions about what the Government already knows about further budget blowouts yet is hiding from the WA public.
“The Government has known for some time that the price of METRONET was ballooning, but failed to disclose this at Mid-Year Review, or when questions were asked in Parliament,” Mr Sibma said.
“This highlights why it is vital that the government implements the Auditor-General’s recommendation that the Government provide a regular report to Parliament and the public on cost, time and status of the project.”
Mr Sibma said the Government was out of excuses for why it had prioritised METRONET over investments in health and other important services during a heated economy.
“While the McGowan Government fields excuse after excuse for why METRONET is overdue and overbudget, the reason for this mess is its reckless decision to expand the size and scope of the project during periods of great uncertainty and high inflation.”
Mr Sibma said that such gross mismanagement would in the past have led to at least a serious reprimand of the responsible portfolio minister, but the McGowan Government demonstrates daily its disregard for ministerial accountability.
“Arrogance and incompetence combined are a dangerous mix, unfortunately it is the public of Western Australia who are paying the price,” Mr Sibma said.