EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES HANSARD
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Regional rail link
Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government and the Minister for Public Transport for their arrogance and deception regarding the previous coalition government’s significant public transport achievements. In the last sitting week the Minister for Public Transport arrogantly derided the opposition, alleging complete inaction over four long years. The minister must have a very poor memory. How could she forget? But then again it is something about Labor ministers for public transport.
The facts in relation to the regional rail link project are that the coalition had once again inherited a dog of a project from Labor. Despite the then Labor government spruiking in 2010 that regional rail was fully funded, it was soon to be discovered by the coalition that the project had been massively undercosted and grossly underscoped.
In 2011 the Coalition was facing a massive cost blowout on regional rail. The Department of Treasury and Finance advised the then Treasurer that the project budget had increased from a Labor estimate of $4.3 billion to around $5.5 billion. Why? The original project had not been properly costed by Labor, trains had not been ordered, signalling had been simply forgotten and not funded, and extra money was needed for land acquisition and construction contingencies. How screwed could another project get under Labor? It was the coalition government that turned around this dog of a project left by Labor into a nationally award‑winning project delivering massive cost savings and time savings.