Daniel Andrews Refuses to Return East West Link Money in a war of words between Federal and State Governments.
After scrapping the $10b East West Link development despite signed contracts, Victoria’s Labor Government is refusing to pay back the money granted to them by the Federal Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to 'tear up the contract' for the project is almost criminally stupid on many levels, especially since the money owed to the French and Spanish builders (finally settled at $339 million), and the Queensland State Investment Corporation could have built a new Victorian hospital (just as an example).
Tony Abbott has denounced the decision and said it sets a “dangerous precedent”. Andrews had vowed to scrap the planned development if he was elected, he also hadn’t ruled out legislating in order to avoid the potential liability of millions of dollars in compensation for incurred costs that the new Government owed the development consortium. So he was not above essentially using his governmental power to create laws to get himself out of a sticky situation. A very troubling move by a person in a position of governmental responsibility, for all of us in Australia, no doubt.
So Andrews has said about his big cash haul that: “There is no opportunity for the [Federal] Government to claw that money back”.
In fact Andrews has refused to give back any of the Federal money which was meant for the project, saying it “doesn’t make sense to return the money”, since Tony Abbot mentioned he may support the allocation of the money to the proposed Western Distributor project. So Andrews is holding onto the money “just in case” he gets to use it on future projects.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison called the fact that the Victorian Government spent $420m (which includes $18m to set up a credit facility) to pay a company to not build a road an “obscenity”.
Both the Victorian and Federal budgets have claimed the $1.5b of funding which was allocated to the scrapped tollway, and on Friday treasurer Joe Hockey met with the Victorian government to tell them to give the money back. “That’s our money, and we’re going to continue to discuss the matter”, he said.
The Victorian Government has said that the $1.5b is needed for other road projects which have been approved by the Federal Government. Obviously Andrews, acting like a bratty child, was never taught to share, as he stood by his position on Friday, simply saying that - “We’re not giving back any money.”
This whole situation makes us mad at iSeekplant. The Victorian Government needs to stop acting like a precocious child about its infrastructure plans, ruining business and investor confidence. Get your act together!
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