The already blown out budget for the WestConnex project has increased by to up to $1 billion, according to another leaked State Government document.
The Sydney Gateway component, which was the original justification for the WestConnex project, has had its budget revised upwards from $800 million - as outlined in the WestConnex business case.
The key section of WestConnex that extends to the airport and Port Botany will now cost between $1 to $1.8 billion, according to a Transport for NSW document dated April 2017 leaked to the Labor Opposition.
This increase of up to $1 billion would push the total cost for WestConnex to $17.8 billion.
In an effort to disown this billion dollar blow out, the Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres misled Parliament yesterday when he claimed “The Sydney Gateway project is not part of WestConnex” – directly contradicting the Government’s own business case of November 2015, and previous statements given by ministers and senior bureaucrats over the life of the project.
As late as yesterday the Minister responsible for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres, maintained that the total cost for WestConnex had not increased.
The latest blow out follows WestConnex - the Government’s signature infrastructure project - already having seen its cost revised upwards multiple times:
$10 billion in 2012;
$11.5 billion in 2013;
$14.9 billion in 2014;
$15.4 billion in September 2015; and
$16.8 billion in November 2015.
The now $17.8 billion dollar price tag follows revelations last month that the Berejiklian Government is facing a $1 billion compensation claim from companies that are building the project due to unforeseen planning conditions, planning approval delays and site contaminations.
Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
"Mismanagement has been rife on this project from day one.
"The budget for WestConnex has now blown out five times. It's almost at double its original price tag.
"Once again it is only through high-level government leaks that the public is given accurate information on these taxpayer-funded major projects.
“Ultimately it’s Western Sydney motorists who will have to cop these blow outs by paying unfair and unaffordable tolls for the next 43 years.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Michael Daley
“This is a mess. There is no other way to describe it. It is another example of the Government’s inability to properly plan and implement major projects.
“The sad feature of this is that it is the taxpayers who are paying for this disorganised Government.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Roads Jodi McKay
“Stuart Ayres can’t seriously be disowning the Sydney Gateway? Of course it is part of WestConnex – it was the original justification for the entire project.
“He can’t now decide at this late stage that the Sydney Gateway isn’t part of the WestConnex project – just to cover-up another budget blow out.”