[LINK] Vic transport smartcard to cost $1bn

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Mon Feb 4 13:41:19 EST 2008


<brd>
Talking about transport smartcards....
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Vic transport smartcard to cost $1bn
Ellen Whinnett
February 04, 2008
The Australian IT
http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,23155542-15306,00.html

THE true cost of Victoria's bungled public transport smartcard is $1 
billion, secret new documents reveal.

A damning report by the Office of the Auditor-General has shown 
taxpayers are paying twice as much for the delayed card as the 
Government has previously revealed.

The figures show the taxpayer is paying for a $189 million contingency 
fund, which seems likely to be used now the contractors have told the 
Government they need more money.

The Government has always said the ticket, known as myki, would cost 
$494 million, and never revealed any other costs.

But the documents, which were not in the final report presented to 
Parliament by Auditor-General Des Pearson, show the Transport Ticketing 
Authority needed much more money to set up and run myki for 10 years.

The capital costs were revealed to be $211 million, operating costs were 
$454 million, a risk allowance came to $140 million and the cost of 
running the TTA was $139 million.

With the contingency fund, it came to $1.13 billion.

That cost is believed to have shrunk slightly when the Government sought 
a reduction in capital and operating costs, and is now about $1 billion.

Myki is already 15 months behind schedule and is not due to start on 
Melbourne's trains, trams and buses until June.

The revelations will put even more pressure on the Labor members of 
Parliament's public accounts and estimates committee, which meets today.

The committee will decide whether to demand that Mr Pearson produce 
draft documents prepared by his investigators during a two-year inquiry 
into the smartcard tender.

Liberal MPs are likely to demand the documents be tabled as well as Mr 
Pearson's final report, which left out dozens of adverse preliminary 
views made by his investigators.

If the demand is made, it will be the first time in Victoria an 
Auditor-General has been ordered to provide evidence of the work of his 
investigators.

Mr Pearson yesterday questioned the reliability of the draft reports and 
the motivation of those leaking them. "There are avenues for review in 
my organisation and across the public service, and none of those have 
been used,'' he said.

Mr Pearson said there was "probably a logical explanation" for why 
details had been left out of his report, but that he was unable to 
explain them because of the constraints of the Audit Act.

Victoria's highest-paid public servant, TTA head Vivian Miners, is 
almost certain to be called before the committee.

The Auditor-General's investigators have made a string of 
conflict-of-interest claims against the $550,000-a year CEO of the TTA.

The latest draft report, obtained by the Herald Sun, claims Mr Miners is 
the person who took a mystery trip to Washington, US, in 2004.

Mr Pearson did not say this in his report, but investigators previously 
claimed Mr Miners travelled unaccompanied for 18 hours in Washington, 
where the regional office of the winning bidder, Keane, was based.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said there were serious 
questions to be answered.

"Victorians need to know why this crucial report was so dramatically 
altered before the final report was released," he said.

"The apparent modification of the earlier draft means that Victorians 
may not have been told the full story about the awarding of the myki 
contract.

"This issue needs to be fully examined, with all documentation and 
investigation material disclosed."

Premier John Brumby's spokeswoman, Alison Crosweller, said the 
Government had full confidence in Mr Pearson, who was "widely recognised 
as one of Australia's leading auditors-general".

Mr Miners was not available last night because of a serious family illness.

TTA spokeswoman Helen McInerney said the documents were serious and had 
been subjected to rigorous investigation and had been dismissed by the 
Attorney-General.


-- 

Regards
brd

Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Sydney Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au



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