Bridge case wait
Infrastructure body warning on delay
A FINAL business case for the new $576 million Bridgewater crossing will be submitted in coming weeks, as Infrastructure Australia warns too many projects are being funded without one.
The Turnbull and Hodg- man Governments committed to the long-awaited bridge this year, with a time frame to have it completed by 2024.
Estimates committees heard a final business case for the crossing remained outstanding after a draft was submitted to Infrastructure Australia last year.
The State Government is adamant it will be lodged soon and that a planning team is being assembled.
“The verified business case will be lodged with Infrastruc- ture Australia in coming weeks,” a government spokeswoman said.
“Work is also under way to establish a dedicated team to conduct the complex design, planning and approvals phase of the new bridge project.”
The Federal Government pledged $461 million — 80 per cent of the project’s funds — in its May budget, with State Treasurer Peter Gutwein adding $115 million in his budget in June.
The State Budget included $6 million of joint funding in 2018-19 to get a project team started on the design.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021-22 and be completed in 2024.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten pledged $100 million to get the project started before the Liberal Governments stumped up the full amount.
The final business case will arrive as Infrastructure Australia warns about governments jumping the gun with funds for major projects.
Infrastructure Australia Chief executive Philip Davies recently suggested the body’s list of goals was being politicised.
“Too often we are still seeing instances of projects being committed to before a business case has been prepared, a full set of options has been considered, and rigorous analysis of a potential project’s benefits and costs has been undertaken,” Mr Davies said.
Opposition infrastructure spokesman David O’Byrne said the State Government should have completed the full business case.
“The State Government clearly hadn’t done the work so the Federal Government made the announcement to get this State Government out of jail on inaction around the bridge,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Now they’re scrambling to get together the work that should have been done years ago.”
Mr O’Byrne said the project risked running over time and blowing out in cost.
The Hodgman Government has released a 10-year, $13.9 billion infrastructure plan, and promised a 30-year infrastructure strategy.