Thursday, October 05, 2006

P3 Scandal Down Under

In a scenario that sounds like something one expects from the Alberta Government or their clones in Ottawa, Australians in Victoria have found out P3's are public funds paying for private profit.

And key to the scandal is the fact that P3's are neither accountable nor transparent. Gee just like here.

And the government has a problem underestimating its surpluses. Gee just like here.

Secret deals with private sector under fire

■ Melbourne's formula one Grand Prix posted a record loss this year, leaving state taxpayers with a $21 million bill.

■ Departing Auditor-General Wayne Cameron put himself at odds with Mr Brumby by insisting the Government's budget surplus was more than $3 billion above that reported this week.

■ An independent consultants' report said the EastLink tollway would boost Victoria's economy by $15 billion and provide thousands of jobs.

EastLink is among 16 public-private partnerships entered into by the Bracks Government since its election in 1999. Others include Southern Cross Station and the Melbourne Convention Centre redevelopment. But the process of attracting private investment to help pay for public infrastructure has prompted concerns.

The public accounts committee's final report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, found the Government's reliance on "commercial in confidence" to limit access to important information about PPPs had "diminished the accountability of government to the Parliament for substantial state expenditure".



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