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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 350 ..


with many agencies there are delays and further planning work. We really need to be looking at this. We need to be getting regular reports back and we need to ensure that those projects are being delivered in a way that is going to be to the benefit of the Canberra community.

New infrastructure must deliver the highest practical levels of energy efficiency and water efficiency with a clear eye to the future. I am sure that all members of the Assembly understand the importance of building infrastructure that will leave a legacy of ongoing dividends for future generations of Canberrans.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.00): I thank Mr Hanson for bringing forward this matter of public importance today. I thank him because the issue of the management of our major public works projects by the ACT Labor government is one of major concern to my constituents. Those concerns cross a range of issues. It might be a question of priorities.

Mr Barr: Your time is up!

MRS DUNNE: That is not fair! Those concerns cross a range of issues. It might be a question of priorities or the time taken for projects to be completed or the cost or design aspects, or it might even be a simple matter of location. The bottom line is that the people of the ACT have a deep and abiding interest in what goes on around them, particularly when it impacts on the amenity of their city. Many of the comments I get from constituents are quite incisive, thoughtful and well researched.

This is no more exemplified than in the recent debate over the major water security projects being undertaken by Actew Corporation on behalf of its owner, the ACT government. For example, we have seen the cost estimates for the Cotter Dam enlargement blow out from $120 million in April 2005 to $363 million in September 2009. That represents an increase of more than 200 per cent over 5½ years. In coming to the final figure–or perhaps the latest figure might be a more appropriate descriptor—we hear that a range of cost elements were not included in the original estimates. Many of these omitted elements, one of which was profit margins, go to the most basic and most fundamental of accounting principles and the development of project costing structures. What business would announce publicly the cost of a project without building in the profit margins? That seems to me unthinkable.

Then we had the engagement of the alliance model, which the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance in its report In pursuit of additional value suggests is by far the most expensive delivery model and should be used for only the most complex of proposals. The enlarged Cotter Dam is not a complex project. It is a roller-compacted concrete wall, a type commonly used and for which the technology and building know-how is readily available. There never has been a satisfactory answer given to the question of why the alliance model was adopted.

In all of this we have a government that failed to keep itself properly informed of the project development. Its failure to keep itself informed was so bad that the announcement of the increase in the cost to $363 million in September 2009 took the government by surprise, even disappointment and concern. The Chief Minister, in an


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