Newcastle light rail cost: Wireless upgrade contributes to extra $35m bill
Once again, the NSW Government has demonstrated it is completely incapable of effectively planning and budgeting for our transport. Our tax payer dollars are going down the drain because NSW Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance makes reckless decisions and mistakes which he continues to try and cover up in confidential documents. The latest article in the Newcastle Herald has revealed a $35 million blowout in the Newcastle light rail project. Read below.
The Newcastle Herald:
The state government says a $35 million rise in the cost of Newcastle’s light rail project is partly due to removing the overhead wires which will power the service.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that the Audit Office of NSW had found the project’s cost had jumped from $255 million to $290 million, despite assurances from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in July that the light rail was “on time and on budget”.
Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp said on Friday that the report backed up Labor’s earlier claims of a cost “blowout” and that Ms Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance had misled the public.
Transport for NSW has refused to account for the cost rise, instead offering a basic overview of the $650 million Revitalising Newcastle Program in response to questions from the Herald.
But Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald was more forthcoming, telling the Herald on Sunday that the $35 million in extra funds would be spent on “urban amenity, wire-free [trams] and road upgrades”.
“Much of these extra costs arose out of community consultation run by Hunter Development Corporation into the revitalisation of Newcastle, including the light rail project,” he said.