Documents tabled in Parliament detailing much of the contract between the Andrews Labor Government and Transurban, reveal a soft, cosy, sweetheart deal struck to the advantage of Transurban shareholders at the expense of Victorian taxpayers.
The new documents show that taxpayers could compensate Transurban for lane closures or other impacts on CityLink to build its new toll road, the West Gate Tunnel.
Daniel Andrews has also provided another windfall for Transurban by promising to compensate the privileged company if Victoria introduces other road charges.
The contracts also imply there is a monetary cap, of an undisclosed amount on disruption, and if the impact of road construction activities are responsible for unforeseen CityLink disruptions exceeding this cap, then Victorian taxpayers seem to be responsible for such blowouts and financial impacts above the threshold.
This is all on top of Labor’s highly favourable extension of CityLink tolls until the mid-2040s which included a toll ratchet of up to 4.25% annually and which an analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office found would raise $37.3 billion in extra tolls.
This is a good deal for Transurban but not for Victorian taxpayers.
Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis:
“This is an almost open-ended commitment with big costs potentially sheeted home to taxpayers on top of the known costs and the surging tolls already gifted to Transurban.”
“Taxpayer compensation payments could blow out the Government’s $2.7 billion contribution to the cost of the West Gate Tunnel.”