Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (15 September) . . Page.. 3951..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Liberal opposition—always indicated that they were estimates, pending further work being done. That work has been done and has been finalised, and those costs are now known as the final costs quite separate to estimates. We can talk you through that—
Mr Smyth: So estimates are just guesswork.
MS GALLAGHER: Well, we can give you a little bit more basic information if you cannot quite grasp—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MS GALLAGHER: The shareholders have also written to the board outlining our concern at the costs and the nature of the cost increase and how significant it has been, from the previous final figure. We have received a response from the board. We will keep a very close eye on this project.
MS HUNTER: My question is to the Treasurer. Mark Sullivan indicated on radio last week that one reason the cost of the Cotter Dam has increased by $118 million is that the construction of the dam will require further excavation and concrete due to the requirement to dig around nine metres deeper than originally thought. Did Actew provide the government with a breakdown of the cost increase and can you provide details of this to the Assembly?
MS GALLAGHER: Yes, Actew did provide information around the nature of the cost increases. They related to excavation work. They also related to management of habitat of fish. I can certainly provide the Assembly with a breakdown of those costs; in fact, I think it is a matter that the Assembly is dealing with tomorrow, where that information is also being sought. The costs were to do with construction costs, fish preservation management and other spent costs which had not been included in the previous estimates; they were costs incurred by Actew. But I am certain we can provide the information to the Assembly, whether we do it through question time or through the motion on the notice paper for tomorrow.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?
MS HUNTER: Was the government aware that cost estimates provided in 2005, 2007 and 2008 were not intended to be comprehensive nor reflect the final cost of the project and does the government support this model of obtaining estimate costs for major projects such as the Cotter Dam?
MS GALLAGHER: I think, when you go back to the process involved, in April 2005, in relation to the first figure of around $120 million and, indeed, $145 million in July 2007, the detailed work that went on through 2008 and 2009 had not been done. So it was a very rough estimate of the figures, on the knowledge and the information that they had available to them at the time. I think it is difficult to go out with a figure when all the detailed planning and environmental studies have not