The Minister for Roads Duncan Gay has refused to answer a slew of questions over the private entity that is delivering the largest roads project in Australia, WestConnex.
In Budget Estimates today, Mr Gay and his bureaucrats refused to answer even the most basic questions on the Sydney Motorway Corporation, the private company that oversees the $16.8 billion WestConnex project.
The two main shareholders of the SMC are the Treasurer and the Roads Minister.
He would not say how many employees SMC had, when its directors met, the number of board meetings, director pay or even if the company fell under the purview of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Nor would he answer questions on the $63,000 “post-employment benefits” that SMC senior managers are set to receive once they leave employment.
Every question put to the Minister by the NSW Opposition was met with a stock standard response that the SMC did not fall within the remit of the Government Information (Public Access) Act or that he was even required to answer questions in Estimates hearings. Minister Gay also consistently deflected questions to the SMC Chief Executive Dennis Cliché but then refused to answer them himself.
Labor has introduced a bill to subject the SMC to the normal GIPA laws, but the Baird Government defeated it in the NSW Parliament.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Roads Minister Jodi McKay
“Duncan Gay’s performance was worthy of a mime artist. His lips were sealed because he doesn’t want to have to talk about his handling of WestConnex.
“This Government is showing utter contempt for Parliament and for public scrutiny. To hide the biggest public-funded roads project behind a wall of secrecy is a gross dereliction of governance.
“The people of NSW deserve better than being told that their money is being spent by a shadowy private company that has already blown the budget by almost $7 billion.”
“Duncan Gay and Mike Baird have stopped listening and are showing complete contempt for taxpayers.”