Monday, 12 September 2016
That the Senate—
(i) Transurban now either fully or partially operates 13 of the 15 toll roads in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,
(ii) Transurban's role in the construction and future operation of Melbourne's Western Distributor, a 'market-led' proposal,
(iii) Transurban's stated intention to become the 'natural custodian' of Australia's motorways as policy shifts towards greater road pricing,
(iv) the New South Wales Government's stated intention to sell down its stake in the WestConnex project,
(v) the extension of Transurban's Citylink monopoly as part of the Western Distributor contract, and
(vi) the Productivity Commission's assessment of the dangers of public private partnerships unless the "risks are transferred efficiently, transparently and credibly, with incentives that align the interests of the private sector with that of the public"; and
(b) supports the approach that all contracts, business cases, transport and economic modelling and other associated documents of governments and between governments and private contractors in the planning, construction and operation of toll roads should be made fully available to the public, unredacted, in a timely manner.
The Western Distributor Project in Melbourne is being funded and delivered by the Victorian government through an unsolicited bid process with no involvement from the Commonwealth. Toll roads are operated on behalf of state governments and are a matter for those jurisdictions. All projects which receive more than $100 million in Commonwealth funding are assessed by Infrastructure Australia, and assessments are released publicly. Information related to project details is commercial-in-confidence in nature, and its release may prejudice Commonwealth-state relations.
We will oppose this motion. Labor was not consulted on the words of this motion. While the motion supports transparency, which Labor does support, the wording would require disclosure of tender documents, potentially costing taxpayers the benefit of competition and innovation in tenders. Further, Labor supports proper transparency in all transport projects, not just toll road projects. Labor believes transport modelling and business cases should be able to be made public early, as part of project justification. The community has a right to know the reasons for chosen solutions to identified transport problems, but it should also be able to benefit from competition, to achieve value for money.