Evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee has confirmed the earliest date for a final decision on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment has now been delayed to October next year.
“The deputy CEO of the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, Rod Hook, told the Committee today that the final costings and bids for the project should be known “around October 2011,”” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“The Rann Government had originally said that 30 June this year was the deadline for a final decision and this was then extended to 31 August this year.
“The Rann Government has confirmed its view that if the bids blow out over the $450 million budget, then the Rann Government will refuse to pay the cost of any blowout.
“Given that football and cricket have also refused to commit to paying for any blowout, the project would not be able to proceed.
“Mr Hook also confirmed that the extra $50 million required for an underground car park remained unfunded. The recent State Budget also had not allocated the extra $15 million needed for transport projects related to the project and $11 million for a ground level car park south of the Torrens.
“The Rann Government’s handling of this project has been a fiasco from the start and it is not surprising Treasurer Foley was sacked and now Minister Conlon has been refusing to nominate another deadline for the final decision on the project.”
In other evidence to the Committee, Mr Hook confirmed spending on specific capital works, such as roads, will be reduced by $20 million over four years, as that $20 million is redirected to departmental on-costs including salaries.
“This is clearly a device by the Minister to get around the Budget savings demanded of his Department and will result in less actual capital works being delivered,” Mr Lucas said.
“The leaked Sustainable Budget Commission notes Treasury doubts that this supposed saving is sustainable and that Treasury believes it shows there is “excessive contingency” being built into Transport capital works projects.”
Mr Lucas said other issues canvassed by Mr Hook included:
• The O’Bahn City Access project route would soon go to Cabinet and the favoured departmental option at this stage was a single bus express lane along Hackney Road into the city only, with no express lane out of the city;
• The Department was considering the option of reducing the current two lanes either way in Grenfell and Currie Streets to a single lane either way to give buses priority;
• The Department had some information on the impact on peak hour travel times in the CBD and would provide it to the Committee; and,
• The original estimate of $270 million for the duplication of the Southern Expressway used by Minister Conlon in late 2009 had been prepared by an independent consultant engaged by the Department.