NAPTHINE FOUND HIDING MAJOR PROJECT COSTS FROM TAXPAYERS

The Victorian public are continuing to be denied information on the estimated costs of major projects and tenders under the Napthine Government, Opposition Scrutiny-of-Government spokesperson, Martin Pakula said today.

Mr Pakula said that the Auditor General’s report released today into the Annual Financial Report of the State of Victoria, 2012–13 was scathing of the Napthine Government over the lack of transparency on the costings of major projects.

“Under the Napthine Government, Victorian taxpayers continue to be left in the dark over the cost of high-profile infrastructure projects such as the east-west tunnel,” Mr Pakula said.

“Since coming to office the Napthine Government has made it increasingly difficult for the Victorian public to scrutinise spending on major projects, which are shielded by commercial-in-confidence provisions.

“Denis Napthine attempts to convince Victorians he can deliver major projects on budget by never disclosing what the initial budget is.

“As we have seen today the Auditor-General continues to hold a very dim view of this assault on transparency.

“Governments of all persuasions must be prepared to release detailed costings to allow independent scrutiny of major projects,” Mr Pakula said.

The Auditor General in his report today stated:

“Recent changes to the information provided by government to Parliament and the public regarding major projects has reduced transparency.

“A move away from publicly disclosing project budgets and costs decreases government accountability over a significant area of public spending.”

(Page 7, Auditor-General’s Report on the Annual Financial Report of State of Victoria 2012-13)

Mr Pakula said that today’s Auditor General’s report came off the back of a parliamentary report earlier this year revealing that the Napthine Government’s spending on its 2010 election promises had blown out by more than $870 million.

“Victorians are already paying the price for the government’s need to fund the blowouts in its own commitments.

“Key election commitments such at the roll out of Protective Service Officers (PSO’s) has blown out by more than $200 million.

“The Napthine Government’s approach to transparency on costings is the exact opposite of what it promised voters it stood for,” Mr Pakula said.