The ALP paired with a responsible budget are like oil and water, they never mix and the Victorian ALP continue to raise their own bar of incompetence with the rolling out of Skyrail.
The recent debacle surrounding the expanded Port of Melbourne Lease is a case in point and demonstrates how ALP budget spin collides with the real world to produce these crazy sort of outcomes.
Prior to the last State election there was bipartisan support for leasing the Port of Melbourne and to provide a much needed boost to Government coffers for various road and rail projects.
Estimates of the lease ranged from $6 Billion to $8 Billion with the Liberal plan being to tie the sale into the development of the new Port of Hastings, which was previously Labor policy.
The ALP budget gurus decided however that for $5 Billion – $6 Billion they could remove 50 Level Crossings – a laudable plan, except for one thing – the numbers didn’t add up.
The cost for removing 50 Level crossings was always going to be closer to $8 Billion, or even $10 Billion.
This left a massive shortfall in the ALP Budget, and to fix it they then concocted their plan to extend the lease to 50 years + 20 years to try and squeak more bucks out of the deal by locking out any other port development.
So, what is the link to Skyrail and the ALP’s inability to manage the State’s budget?
Simple, once the opposition threatened to block the ALP’s ridiculous lease and 70 year lock out proposal, effectively denying the Government of a few billion dollars, we immediately see rolled out an alternative (cheaper) level crossing removal program, otherwise known as Skyrail.
Skyrail is a cheaper, nastier, noisier, uglier and unwanted solution to another underfunded budget problem that the ALP created all by themselves.
This ‘alternative’ was kept secret until a farcical public consultation process was rolled out as soon as Labor realised their 70 year lock out lease proposal would never get through the Parliament.
The ALP again, (remember Desal, Myki etc) have under-budgeted the real cost of Level Crossing removals and in a desperate panic to keep the project on track, foisted Skyrail upon an unsuspecting community to try and fix their own budget bungle.
This is ALP economic incompetence on a grand scale, with Melbourne now stuck with this ugly, noisy 19th Century monstrosity for decades to come.