Yesterday, The Office of the Auditor General released its 2023 Major Projects Transparency Report, revealing the shocking mismanagement and overspending by the Cook Labor Government under the financial leadership of Treasurer Rita Saffioti.
The report exposes a staggering increase of nearly $2 billion in project costs during a time when West Australians are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis.
Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Nationals Shane Love slammed the Cook Labor Government’s arrogance and wilful blindness.
“Rita Saffioti may hold the title of Treasurer, but her actions tell a different story. It’s clear she’s been concreting her legacy of wasteful spending, leaving everyday West Australians to foot the bill,” Mr Love said.
“Now we know why Rita Saffioti didn’t present her transport report to Parliament and opted for a self-penned letter to herself instead.”
The report highlights that 14 major projects have exceeded their initially approved budgets, with four projects surpassing their original allocations by over 100 per cent.
These include Common Ground Housing in Mandurah, Common Ground Housing in East Perth, the Main Jetty in Rottnest Island, and the Tonkin Highway Gap from Collier Road to Stanton Road.
“Imagine explaining to someone struggling to make ends meet and living out of a car with their child that the Cook Labor Government is overspending by billions on projects while their basic needs go unmet. This is the stark reality of the Cook Labor Government’s reckless overspending,” Mr Love said.
“Rita Saffioti will likely go radio silent or instead, issue a hollow response to this report, saying project costs have increased everywhere. This is despite her peddling the line that in her eyes, WA has a strong economy.
“People don’t buy it, and they’re not buying the spin of the Cook Labor Government.
“We’re witnessing wastage and overspending on an unprecedented scale, whether it’s hundreds of thousands spent on a heritage law in place for only six weeks or the unnecessary construction of an embassy in Canberra.”
Shadow Minister for Regional Health Martin Aldridge MLC also lashed the Cook Labor Government for ongoing delays and massive budget blow-outs to the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment.
“The Auditor General’s report identifies the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment as WA’s most-delayed project, with the Cook Labor Government continuing to kick the can down the road year on year, leaving Mid West residents fed up with the lack of progress,” Mr Aldridge said.
“This critical project was first promised in the lead-up to the 2017 State Election, yet six years on, it has become a stark reminder of the Cook Labor Government’s apathy towards healthcare, and in particular, regional healthcare.”
“The Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment was originally scheduled to be completed in 2022 at a cost of $45 million. The current project sits at $122 million with an estimated completion of early 2027.
“Labor’s decision to put the project to tender with unrealistic project costs has resulted in the most lengthy procurement process I’ve ever witnessed, and one which is still not completed.