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Question and Answer Tracking Details

4802 - RELEASE OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE AUDIT OF WESTCONNEX

Leong, Jenny to the Minister for Western Sydney, Minister for WestConnex, and Minister for Sport
  1. Has the Minister taken any action following the release of the Australian National Audit Office Audit of WestConnex?

    1. If so, what action has been taken?

  2. Was the Minister, or the Department before the Minister's appointment, aware that the milestones for Federal Government payments to WestConnex were adjusted and backdated from the agreed milestones with the federal government in order to keep the funds flowing?

    1. If so, what action has been taken in response to this action?

  3. What oversight does the Minister have concerning the Sydney Motorway Corporation in relation to the expenditure of government grant funding to WestConnex?

  4. Why were the federal funds front-loaded into Stage 1?

  5. Why was the $2 billion concessional loan negotiated in 2013 when the Audit Report states that there is evidence that Stage 2 of WestConnex could have progressed as planned without this loan?

  6. Why was the Government loan sought when according to the Audit Report these funds could have been obtained from private sector lenders and through the privatization of Stage 1 in 2019-20?

Answer -

(1) The Australian National Audit Office Audit report is not critical of any aspect of the WestConnex project and the significant benefits it will deliver for New South Wales. The report's findings relate to the approval and administration of Commonwealth funding for the WestConnex project which will be responded to directly by the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

(2) All milestone payments received from the Federal Government were made with the condition that sufficient work had been undertaken and there was sufficient evidence of project progress. At no time were milestone payments received for WestConnex based on work that had not been completed at the time the payment was made.

(3) Sydney Motorway Corporation's projects are subject to normal Government reporting processes, as prescribed by the Cabinet Standing Committee on Infrastructure. Infrastructure NSW provides monthly progress reports to Cabinet as part of its ongoing advisory and assurance role for the Government. Further details can be found on the Sydney Motorway Corporation website.

(4) to (6) Stages 1 and 2 of WestConnex are funded from Restart NSW, Federal Government grants, private sector bank loan and Federal Government loan. The Federal Government's loan facility provided the necessary finance to deliver WestConnex Stage 2 independent of any other project stage, and removed the reliance of finance being sourced from the sale of Stage 1 after opening to traffic. The loan facility accelerated the project by more than 12 months with the New M5 King Georges Interchange Upgrade starting in mid-2015 and opening to traffic in early December 2016. The WestConnex 2013 Business Case scheduled the New M5 construction to start in mid-2016.

Question asked on 16 February 2017 (session 56-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 106
Answer received on 23 March 2017 and to be printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 113