Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 06, 2024


Project Costs

The Hon. S.L. GAME (15:35): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport in the other place, about government cost blowouts for infrastructure and other projects in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: By 30 June 2027 our state's net debt is forecast to top $38.2 billion, or $20,629 for every South Australian. Interest expenses alone on that figure are forecast to be $1.827 billion by 2026-27. Imagine the services and infrastructure—hospitals, roads, etc.—that the interest repayment figures alone could fund.

Against that backdrop it is disturbing that on a regular basis we hear, often through the media, about cost blowouts on government projects. Examples are easy to find, but the north-south corridor cost explosion is an obvious and eye-watering case—from an estimated budget of $9.9 billion to a new figure of over $15 billion.

Government and private enterprise projects should be delivered at the same cost wherever and whenever possible. Taxpayers deserve this and should expect it as a matter of good governance. My questions to the Minister for Primary Industries, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, are:

1. Is there any data available on the costs of government projects and comparable private enterprise projects?

2. If not, why not?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:37): I thank the honourable member for her question. I will refer it to the minister in the other place and bring back a response.