Brendan not impressed with ESA plans

johnboy 3 November 2011

Following on from yesterday’s announcement of new fire and ambulance stations the Liberals’ Brendan Smyth has expressed some disappointment in the scope of the plans:

“In keeping with the debacle that was the delivery of the GDE, the Busway to Belconnen, the new ESA headquarters and the Alexander Maconochie Centre, Mr Corbell has continued his poor record of delivering infrastructure with the so-called ESA strategy: three and a quarter years late and 21 per cent more expensive,” ACT Shadow Emergency Services Minister, Brendan Smyth said today.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion, it is in the critical area of emergency services infrastructure that has felt the ‘dead hand’ of Mr Corbell’s poor record of delivering infrastructure.

“The ESA’s preferred option in 2008 would have delivered 14 new facilities, two major upgrades and 16 minor upgrades. The net cost was an estimated $82.5 million. (Emergency Services in the ACT: Station Relocation Feasibility Study: Final Report, August 2008).

“What has Mr Corbell announced today? 7 new facilities, three major upgrades and two minor upgrades for apparently over $100 million.

“The big losers in the so-called two page strategy released today, are the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the State Emergency Service (SES).

“In the 2008 final report, the SES was to get new accommodation at Pialligo, Majura, Belconnen and Tuggeranong, with upgrades at Rivers, Gungahlin and Woden. In the 2011 ‘strategy’, only Tuggeranong SES gets a new facility.

“For the RFS, there was to be a new shed at Uriarra and at Majura, with upgrades at Guises Creek, Hall and Molonglo. According to the 2011 ‘strategy’, only Majura will get a minor upgrade.

“The real question is how much of this strategy will be delivered and what will be the final cost, given Mr Corbell’s poor of delivering on infrastructure,” Mr Smyth said.

UPDATE: Apparently that wasn’t enough contempt, he’s having another swing:

‘The exact cost of implementing the [station relocation] strategy was still unknown, but Mr Corbell predicted it would exceed $100 million.’ (Canberra Times, 3 November 2011).

After years of planning and feasibility studies, ACT Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell yesterday launched the ESA strategy without even knowing the exact cost of its implementation, according to ACT Shadow Emergency Services Minister, Brendan Smyth.

“This is the GDE all over again. We are waiting longer, paying more, and getting less,” Mr Smyth said.

“When we have a Minister who approves strategies without a final cost, it’s little wonder why the ACT’s cost of living continues to soar and infrastructure projects blow out in budget.

“How did Simon Corbell’s Cabinet colleagues approve this strategy, without there being an appropriate costing? I also question whether he has actually read his own report, which clearly sets out detailed costing of all options.

“Mr Corbell has failed in his responsibility to the ACT community, and to the ESA by releasing an important strategy without having a final costing,” Mr Smyth concluded.

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