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THE Victorian Government has hidden how much it is spending on the stalled Murray Basin Rail project, leading the Opposition to accusations it is “fiddling the books”.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the Government had “fully funded its $220 million contribution to the Murray Basin Rail Project”.
Yet federal Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said “the original estimated cost of the project was $440 million, with the Australian Government agreeing to contribute $240.2 million and the Victorian Government agreeing to contribute $199.8 million”.
Last year’s 2018-19 Victorian Budget listed the “total estimated investment” in the Murray Basin Rail Project as $426.5 million, which left the Victorian Government contribution at $186.3 million.
In May this year Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas merged the Murray Basin Rail Project’s costs with an unknown amount drawn in from the Maryborough and Ararat to Ballarat regional rail project, plus $1 million from GrainCorp, and $35 million from the Commonwealth for another project — the Ballarat Line Upgrade Stage 2.
This article first appeared on www.weeklytimesnow.com.au
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