Posted on 15. Aug, 2013 in Clayton Update

The Napthine Government has now kept the business case for its $8 billion dud tunnel hidden from public scrutiny for three months and it is time it was revealed for public scrutiny, State Member for Clayton, Hong Lim said today.

Mr Lim said Denis Napthine continues to hide the business case from families in the Clayton electorate and expects them to believe that major local infrastructure projects won’t be shelved to pay for it.

Mr Lim said on May 15 this year Transport Minister Terry Mulder told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that “we have the business case in our hands at the moment” but the Napthine Government had since hidden this from Victorians.

“Labor will continue to call on Denis Napthine to release the business case for public scrutiny as the public have a right to know why the Government wants to spend $8 billion on a tunnel,” Mr Lim said.

“Any new major game changing infrastructure projects will be decades away as the government builds a dud $8 billion tunnel – a tunnel that no one wants and no one will use from a Premier no Victorian voted for.”

“What’s at stake here in the Clayton electorate is funding for rail crossing eliminations in Clayton and Centre Roads, Huntingdale station upgrade and new bus interchange facility, school rebuilding projects and a possible further delay to the promised Monash Children’s Hospital which former Premier Baillieu trumpeted he would back Labor’s 2014 open date prior to the 2010 State election”.

Mr Lim said the Government ignored a June deadline to submit the information to Infrastructure Australia for consideration, instead waiting until July to release the “Short Form” Executive Summary.

“Victorians would have expected Denis Napthine to provide a lot more than a high school essay to justify spending $8 billion on a tunnel,” Mr Lim said.

“Mr Napthine claims the tunnel will provide a benefit-cost ratio of 1.4 ($1.40 of value for every $1 spent) for the project, but provides no detail on how this number has been established.

“By contrast, Infrastructure Australia chair Sir Rod Eddington estimated a ratio of 0.5 – a 50% loss on any money spent.

“Unlike the Eddington Report, Mr Napthine’s document contains no traffic volume forecasts, no revenue projections, no details of the savings or the costs expected.

“Sir Eddington has provided us with nearly three hundred pages of analysis, while Premier Napthine has released just twelve pages of fluff.”

Mr Lim said if Mr Napthine believed he knows better than Sir Eddington, he should release the business case.

“There are now serious questions that need to be answered about the Government’s East-West tunnel project including:

• How has the Government estimated the Benefit-Cost Ratio of 1.4?
• Why does their estimate differ from the negative Eddington estimate of 0.5?
• What is the Benefit-Cost Ratio if the so-called “wider economic benefits’ are not considered by Infrastructure Australia?
• What are the traffic projections for the East-West tunnel?
• How high will the toll be for users of the tunnel?
• When will the full business case be released to the Victorian public?

“It has been three months since the Napthine Government announced that it had the business case in its hands, it is time for Denis Napthine to stop trying to hide the facts from the Victorian community.”

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