SYDNEY LIGHT RAIL BILL PASSES $3Bn AS NSW GOVT SETTLES LEGAL DISPUTE

More bad news and equally more … are we being told more damn lies?

 

 

Sydney light rail bill passes $3 billion as NSW Government settles legal dispute

 

MONDAY 3 JUNE 2019

 

 

The NSW State Government has settled a year-long legal dispute with construction company Acciona over Sydney’s light rail project, agreeing to a $576 million compensation payout.

Key points:

  • With today’s compensation payout, the total bill for the light rail project will be more than $3 billion
  • The payout is part of a long-running dispute with Acciona over the complexity of the project
  • The first part of the project will be finished in December, with the second part finished in March

The final payout, confirmed by the State Government this morning, will take the trouble-plagued project’s total cost to more than $3 billion — almost double the original price tag predicted by then-transport minister Gladys Berejiklian in 2012.

Acciona sued the NSW Government for misleading or deceptive conduct in April last year.

It was initially chasing $1.2 billion over issues relating to the cost of digging up and replacing Ausgrid powerlines for the project, which has turned Sydney’s George Street — and parts of Sydney’s eastern suburbs — into a construction site.

The NSW Government accused the company of ordering a go-slow at the time, pushing the already delayed project back further.

Of the $576 million payout confirmed today, it is understood $129 million will be held back until construction deadlines are met.

The first portion of the light rail, to Randwick in the city’s east, must be complete by December.

The second leg of the project, to the south-east suburb of Kingsford, will need to be finished by March.

The project was supposed to be finished before the March state election.

 

The agreement clears $1.5 billion the company was seeking in claims, including the $1.2 billion it was originally suing the State Government for.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it had been a “complex negotiation” but the agreement reset the relationship between the parties.

Opposition spokeswoman Jodi McKay said the project cost was “extraordinary” and a sign of the Government’s mismanagement.

The 12km light rail project runs from Circular Quay to Randwick and has caused mass disruption to businesses and foot traffic in some of Sydney’s busiest areas, triggering an inquiry last year.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-03/sydney-light-rail-bill-passes3-billion-as-compo-settled/11172434

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SYDNEY’s LIGHT RAIL FARCE ESCALATES

‘THE incompetence of the NSW Government is staggering.

IT has messed up nearly every major INFRASTRUCTURE project that it has embarked upon in a futile attempt to keep pace with Sydney’s break-neck population growth.’ 

AND it would appear the Federal LNP policies allowing high immigration, Visa Manipulation & Permanent Residency have facilitated the NSW Farce and COST NSW Incumbents far too much!

ABC photoA streetscape

Sydney’s light rail farce escalates

By Leith van Onselen

 

In the wake of the massive cost blow-outs and delays hitting both the Parramatta Light Rail Project and the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project, the former head of Infrastructure NSW, Paul Broad, in June described the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project as a waste of money and a vanity project that should have never been started.

This was immediately followed by a secret report prepared by the NSW State Government’s own experts – the Transport for NSW’s urban domain reference group – which warned the plan for Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project was ill-conceived from the outset.

In August, NSW Auditor-General Margaret Crawford slammed the management of the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project, claiming the Government’s failure to conduct a proper business case has led to a $500 million cost blowout. RBA Governor, Phil Lowe, also panned the project as a textbook example of poor oversight.

 

Construction opposite a cafe.

ABC Photo

In September, the farce intensified further with more than 60 businesses and landlords launching a class action lawsuitagainst the NSW Government. It was also revealed that NSW taxpayers are on the hook for a $500 million loan undertaken by the consortium building Sydney’s light rail project.

 

The light rail was meant to be finished in 2019, but that date has blown to March 2020. It was budgeted to cost $1.6 billion before a $500 million blowout. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone

Then in November, the Auditor-General released a report predicting further cost blow-outs.

As we already know, Spanish subcontractor Acciona sued the NSW Government for $1.2 billion, in addition to the projects existing $2.1 billion cost, claiming it had been misled about the cost of ripping up powerlines under the CBD and replacing them.

Sydneysiders also face a one-year delay for the project to be finished.

Today, it has been revealed that a contractor was paid almost $500,000 by the NSW Government to prevent it from being ripped off. From The Australian:

The NSW government is paying a contractor $471,240 a year to ensure that it is paying the right extra “variations” — or payments in excess of what has been contracted…

The government tenders website reveals that between April last year and the end of March, East West Services Pty Ltd was paid the money to “conduct general assessment of variations and claims” and “undertake assessment of cost entitlement for variations and claims”…

Opposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said that “the Liberals’ incompetence now requires further money for contractor claims and modifications that should never have happened”.

“This government has given the consultants and financiers another hefty payday at the expense of taxpayers,” she said.

The incompetence of the NSW Government is staggering. It has messed up nearly every major infrastructure project that it has embarked upon in a futile attempt to keep pace with Sydney’s break-neck population growth.

Let’s hope it can do better this term.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/04/sydneys-light-rail-farce-escalates/

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TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (Sydney Metro) BILL 2018

TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (Sydney Metro) BILL 2018

PART 2

Under this Bill Sydney Metro can acquire and develop land for residential, retail and commercial purposes on land in the locality of an actual or proposed Metro station, depot or stabling yard. …

Page 15 of Legislation Review Digest No.6 of 2018
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/CommitteesDigest/AddInformation/620/Digest%20No%2053%20-%201%20May%202018.pdf

\Image may contain: text

 

ALSO VIEW under the Category of “Compulsory Acquisition & Land Amalgamation”

“So, It has Begun … the Legalised Theft of People’s Homes to enable more Development”

 

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Sydney light rail sub-contractor Acciona seeking $1.1 billion after claiming it was misled

 

 

Sydney light rail sub-contractor Acciona seeking $1.1 billion after claiming it was misled

 

The company building the troubled Sydney light rail project has accused the New South Wales Government of misleading it before it signed up for the project, court documents have revealed.

Key points:

  • The Spanish company building Sydney’s light rail is locked in a legal battle with the NSW Government
  • The $1.1 billion lawsuit relates to power and water infrastructure which was affected by the project
  • The project is overbudget and behind schedule

Spanish sub-contractor Acciona Infrastructure Australia has filed proceedings in the Supreme Court against Transport for NSW (TfNSW) for “misleading and deceptive” conduct.

The $1.1 billion lawsuit relates to power infrastructure supplied by Ausgrid.

Acciona wants financial compensation from the State Government and claims it was “induced” by TfNSW to enter a contract to build the CBD light rail on a “false premise”.

In documents tendered to the court, the contractor claimed a “critical part and key delivery risk” of the project was how they would deal with underground electricity infrastructure, including those owned by Ausgrid and other water and gas companies.

The company has alleged it was made to believe electricity provider Ausgrid had reviewed and accepted the treatments of its utilities, but it had not.

“Acciona … were prevented from communicating with Ausgrid in relation to how changes to utilities owned by Ausgrid were to be dealt with as part of the project,” the documents state.

“Acciona were reliant upon TfNSW to ensure that utility services treatment in relation to Ausgrid was appropriately dealt with.”

According to the documents, one particularly important date was February 27, 2015.

On that day, Acciona allege, agreements for the project were finalised with the NSW Government.

However, Acciona claims that after business hours on that same day, Ausgrid sent it a draft document that set out its guidelines, which were significantly different to what was agreed to in the contract.

Ausgrid required more costly work on 106 of its utility pits.

The company said if it had known this, it would not have signed on for the project.

“Acciona would not have executed the D&C [design and construct] contract because to do so in those circumstances was to expose Acciona to significant risk,” the documents stated.

‘It’s a scandal’

Speaking outside court NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley described the project as a “debacle”.

“This is not a stuff up, it’s a scandal, a scandal brought to us by the Premier herself,” he said.

Mr Foley claimed the project would eventually cost $3 billion.

“The cost has blown out, we’re now facing years of uncertainty, the centre of the city looks like a war zone and there’s just no end in sight,” he said.

“What we were told would be built by April 2018 will now not be built until the 2020s, if ever.”

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the billion-dollar claim was “absurd”.

“Transport for New South Wales will vigorously defend their position in the Supreme Court,” he said.

“The contract is pretty clear and they’ve got to stop their go-slow and get back to work and make sure they get on with the job.”

He said the Government was looking at “all conceivable options” under the contract to make sure the company delivered.

“We have a contract in place and we are applying that contract.

“There is the ability to issue default notices and obviously seek damages in terms of late delivery.”

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SYDNEY CBD’S LIGHT RAIL DISASTER PREDICTED BY INFRASTRUCTURE CHIEFS SIX YEARS AGO

Sydney light rail

 

SYDNEY CBD’S LIGHT RAIL DISASTER PREDICTED BY INFRASTRUCTURE CHIEFS SIX YEARS AGO

ABC: ANALYSIS

THE COURT HEARING was on 13 April 2018 …

“The case will return to the Supreme Court for a directions hearing on May 25.”

The first ABC article has very detailed information … ABC:
Sydney Light Rail contractor says it was misled by Government

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/sydney-light-rail-contractor-says-it-was-misled-by-government/9652652

HOWEVER, the second ABC article is a doozy – – ANALYSIS – Sydney CBD’s light rail disaster predicted by infrastructure chiefs six years ago.

CAAN has copied the article … just in case it is edited out! Or even removed …. oooh Fancy!

ABC: ANALYSIS

Sydney CBD’s light rail disaster predicted by infrastructure chiefs six years ago

By Brigid Glanville

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/sydney-cbds-light-rail-woes-predicted-six-years-ago/9651672

In 2012, Paul Broad, then chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, warned the Government about the problems of building a light rail in Sydney.

“If you add light rail to George Street today, you will not fix a problem, you will create a problem,” he told the ABC.

“You’ll walk as fast as a tram down George Street.”

An Infrastructure NSW report — released in October 2012 by Mr Broad and then chairman of Infrastructure NSW, former NSW premier Nick Greiner — alerted the Government to potential financial disruptions and lengthy delays.

Six years on and Greiner and Broad can now finally say “I told you so”.

It’s not what the Premier wants to hear.

When the Government came to power in 2011 after 16 years in opposition, Gladys Berejiklian was the Transport Minister.

The North West metro and CBD light rail were her pet projects and the CBD light rail was predicted to be completed in time for the 2019 election.

Now the Government won’t be drawn on the project’s completion date, rumoured to be 2020.

The 12-kilometre light rail from Circular Quay to Randwick is facing a massive cost blowout and in some sections it’s a year behind schedule.

The NSW Government confirmed last year the cost had increased by $500 million, but now the subcontractor in charge of building the line, says the figure is much bigger.

Today the NSW Supreme Court will hear a claim by subcontractor Acciona for more than $1 billion in compensation from the State Government.

Lawyers for Acciona will argue the company has been misled on the complexity of the underground utilities, such as gas, electricity and water pipes.

The State Government argues that Acciona has an obligation to complete the job and the Premier has said she won’t “be held to ransom”.

Small businesses along route struggling

While the Government and subcontractor battle it out in court, commuters and pedestrians face months, possibly years, of more construction along George Street.

More than 50 businesses have received government assistance during the construction period, but many others have closed down.

Amelia Birch used to own The Book Kitchen in Bourke St, Surry Hills.

Last year she says she lost that business because her trade has dropped off due to the light rail construction.

“We went from turning over of $20,000 a week to $13,000 overnight.”

Amelia Birch said she has had no contact from anyone in the State Government, instead, there has been “a lot of ignoring”.

“I’ve had no contact whatsoever, it’s like they’re turning their back [on businesses] along the route.”

“A government that we voted in based on their push to support to advocate for small businesses, has turned their back on small businesses.”

The Premier has said Transport Minister Andrew Constance will meet with Ms Birch.

However, there is some concern amongst backbenchers that the Coalition isn’t doing enough for people like Amelia Birch.

That’s why this week the Premier announced a $290 million package aimed at small communities — money for planting trees, building playgrounds and fixing local sporting fields.

The Premier knows that during the phase of delivering big projects the Government can’t afford to forget the people who voted for them.

‘Infrastructure Premier’ title in doubt

The CBD light rail disaster may become more than a headache for Gladys Berejiklian.

There are growing concerns that Acciona is running out of money.

The last thing the Premier needs is a half-finished project right in the middle of the CBD, causing chaos for years to come.

If this happens that’s could be an electoral disaster for the Premier.

If the Government is forced to pay more than $1 billion to Acciona, what projects will she need to shelve to pay for it?

Speculation around Macquarie Street is the Powerhouse Museum move may be off the cards or the Northern Beaches Tunnel put on hold.

Ms Berejiklian doesn’t want to backflip on another project, but that may be the least of her concerns.

If the light rail project implodes, the real damage to the Premier will be to her economic credibility and that politically she can no longer sell herself as the ‘Infrastructure Premier’, delivering projects on time and on budget.

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