10/05/2019 - 12:31

WA govt $900m behind on infrastructure promises this year

10/05/2019 - 12:31

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The state government has fallen $1.7 billion behind its infrastructure spending commitments over the past two years, according to Western Australia’s civil construction industry’s peak body.

The state government will not meet its budgeted expenditure on the Yanchep Rail Extension this financial year.

The state government has fallen $1.7 billion behind its infrastructure spending commitments over the past two years, according to Western Australia’s civil construction industry’s peak body.

The Civil Contractors Federation of WA chief executive Andy Graham said yesterday’s budget papers revealed that actual spending by WA’s major infrastructure agencies will be $3.6 billion this financial year.

“Last year at this time, the State Government committed to investing more than $4.5 billion in road, rail, water, electricity and land development projects during the 2018/19 financial year – a similar spend to that outlined for 2019/20 in today’s state budget,” he said.

 “If history is any guide, we can expect another massive underspend next year too.”

Last financial year the government was approximately $800 million behind its infrastructure commitments.

Mr Graham pointed to planned expenditure on the METRONET Thornlie-Cockburn Link (TCL) and Yanchep Rail Extension (YRE) projects as an example, which was promised to be around $230 million in 2018/19 but will actually be $31.3 million.

But yesterday the state government said both projects are on track, with construction expected to start later this year.

Last month it announced a two short-listed consortia for construction of TCL and YRE, which have a combined budget of $1.056 billion, both headed by Spanish-owned companies CPB Contractors and ACCIONA.

The government has budgeted $278 million towards the two projects for the 2019-20 financial year.

 “CCF WA advocated for those projects to be ‘de-bundled’ into multiple contracts, allowing broader participation by local contractors, speeding up project delivery, and creating more WA jobs,” Mr Graham said.

“Instead, the government combined them into one ‘mega-project’, believing it would deliver savings – but ended up getting just two bids, which is unlikely to be an indicator of value-for-money.”

Mr Graham said there was concern that this decision was driven in part by a lack of resources in the major infrastructure delivery agencies.

“Another reason projects may fall behind schedule is planning, approval or coordination issues,” he said.

“That’s why we welcome the Government’s commitment to fast-tracking the enabling legislation for Infrastructure WA, which will provide an agreed roadmap for infrastructure planning and coordination and help beat bottlenecks.”

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