Page 3952 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

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been undertaken. I think there is also a public interest in having some understanding of the nature of the costs of a project as well.

I think, when I reviewed the public statements on the dam, it has always been very clear that these were estimates of costs. There have always been very clear statements from Actew and, indeed, from ministers when commenting on it that there were potential cost increases in the order of 50 per cent to 70 per cent and that further work had to be done to finalise those costs.

It is not clear to me that there can be a better way to do it without going through the process that had to be undertaken, because it was the environmental and the detailed planning work that actually finalised those costs towards the end of this process. It simply would not have been known at the beginning. We all learn from these processes, particularly about the way we can manage the public statements on this. I think there has always been a very clear caveat on the cost of the dam. Really it was not until October—

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Treasurer.

MR SMYTH: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MS BRESNAN: Supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan; then I will come to you, Mr Smyth.

MS BRESNAN: Has your department reviewed the latest cost increases projected by Actew, and what conclusions did your department reach on vetting those costs?

MS GALLAGHER: They have been involved in discussions with Actew and I think they have had some role in the analysis of the costs. Certainly they have briefed me about the final costs and they certainly have not drawn to my attention any concerns they have around the cost other than that it has grown significantly. Treasury were very pleased that they had an independent analysis done of the final costs to make sure that they were within reason. As far as I am aware, Treasury agree with the costs of the enlarged Cotter Dam as announced in August 2009.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: A supplementary question. Treasurer, why were these early costs promoted as actual costs when, in your own answer to the question, you described them as rough estimates?

MS GALLAGHER: Did I say rough estimates or estimates?

Mr Smyth: You did.

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