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Senior managers have asked for $355 million more than they have been allocated in their budgets to run the state's troubled rail network.
Details of the massive variance, which are outlined in documents leaked to The Sun-Herald, have sparked concerns that further station closures and service cuts are imminent and passenger safety may be jeopardised.
However, RailCorp chief executive Vince Graham has dismissed the Rail Entities 2004/05 Budget Review as nothing more than an internal working paper.
The highly sensitive document reveals that more than 1100 staff have been added to RailCorp without managers accounting for salary costs.
Revenues are an estimated $45 million down on predictions made just several months ago, the document says. And about $80 million that the Government had hoped to save by integrating the state's existing rail bodies was in danger of not being realised.
The $355 million is believed to represent about 15 per cent of the rail budget.
After separately analysing the document, NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden and Rail Tram and Bus Union boss Nick Lewocki predicted that the public would again be forced to suffer the consequences of a new and prolonged round of cuts in costs and services.
"The documents prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that [Transport Minister] Michael Costa is a complete failure as an economic manager," Mr Brogden said.
"The budget blow-out will cause him to cut services, maintenance and staff and put safety at risk. His reputation as Labor's Mr Fixit is ruined."
Mr Lewocki said that if accurate, the details of the huge miscalculation indicate that the Government was doing little more than cobbling together transport policy on the run.
RailCorp's cost-cutting regimen had already capped worker overtime at 12 hours per week, but it would be the travelling public that would bear the full brunt in the form of reduced services, closed ticket windows, overflowing garbage bins and dirty toilets, he said.
Mr Graham said yesterday it was "a nonsense" to draw any conclusions for the document because it was an internal working paper, "nothing more or less".
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