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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2707 ..


Services headquarters, we could go to FireLink, we could go to the Gungahlin Drive extension. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of project blow-outs, years of project delays.

The path to doing it better is there. It has been advised time and time again by the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General has given fantastic advice. The advice is there, yet they keep ignoring it. Why, Mr Speaker? And who pays? Well, the taxpayer. Everyone pays.

I think that it is worth reflecting on the fact that this government has not learnt from its mistakes. Why does the Auditor-General have to continue to find in their reports these scathing findings in relation to project management? If there is one thing that this government could easily do better, it is manage its projects within time frame and within budget. And there are some structural changes that do need to be made. That does mean better coordination across agencies.

If they think that simply putting in place the Hawke review is going to do it then they are sadly mistaken, because simply changing the governance arrangements does not change the culture. It does not, in and of itself, change the culture. It will not change the failures in procurement. The failures in procurement will still be there unless we do something differently. It will not deal with the failure to plan when it comes to infrastructure. It is the short-term thinking of this government that continues to get them into trouble. It is the short-term thinking of this government that continues to cost taxpayers more money.

The north Weston ponds project, I suppose, at one level in the scheme of this government’s waste and mismanagement, is relatively small. That is a hard thing to say because we are talking about a blow-out of over $20 million. That is not a small amount of money. It is only a small amount of money when we compare it to all of the other blow-outs that we have seen in recent years. By comparison, unfortunately, it is a small amount of money. But it is over a 100 per cent blow-out and it is probably one of the worst examples that we have seen from this government in relation to delivering projects. It is worth reflecting on a couple of other aspects of it:

There was no single project owner with responsibility for the project from its inception through to its construction. Project ownership changed between the ACT Planning and Land Authority … and Roads ACT, leading to decisions by new project participants (mainly representatives from Roads ACT and Procurement Solutions) who did not have a detailed history or understanding of the site. When contamination and geotechnical problems began emerging in the early stages of construction, no ACTPLA representatives with a detailed understanding of the environmental and contamination assessments were involved in the project.

ACTPLA was the project owner for most of the planning and design phase of the

project. ACTPLA did not establish effective project management or governance

arrangements for the pond project …

And it goes on. I would just say to the government that it is time they started taking these reports seriously. They should not see the Auditor-General as an enemy. We know that Tu Pham, who was highly qualified and highly capable, did a sensational


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