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THE 10-member board overseeing Cross River Rail will be scrapped amid mounting concerns Queensland’s biggest ever public transport project has run off the rails.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Cross River Rail Minister Kate Jones has informed board members that their terms will not be renewed and she is taking direct control of the $5.4 billion underground train project as part of a new structure.
An experienced compliance officer, who oversaw construction of Suncorp Stadium in the early 2000s, will be appointed to monitor progress of the controversial contractor appointed to build the 10.2km project between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills.
The news comes amid speculation Cross River Rail will cost taxpayers billions of dollars more than forecast, as well as construction union outrage about the industrial deal struck over the site.
Cross River Rail Minister Kate JonesCPB Contractors, which is part of both consortiums building the project, has clashed with the Victorian Government after announcing it will terminate its contract to build the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel after a dispute about contaminated soil.
Ms Jones, who was handed responsibility for the project last year following Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s integrity scandal, said there were concerns about the contractor’s behaviour in other states and she was determined the same would not be repeated in Queensland.
“Right now, CPB is trying to weasel its way out of its contract with the Victorian Government on the multibillion West Gate Tunnel,” she said.
“I’m not going to let CPB run roughshod over Queenslanders or the workers on this job.”
Ms Jones confirmed the current board, headed by former Labor deputy premier Paul Lucas, would be wound up and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority would report directly to her.
She said the new structure would help the Government maintain a closer watch on the project as it progressed.
“Since coming into the role at the end of last year, I have been reviewing the structure of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority,” she said.
“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef-up compliance.”
The terms of all but one member of the Cross River Rail board — which includes senior public servants Dave Stewart, Frankie Carroll, Neil Scales and Damien Walker — expire in April.
Cross River Rail is due to be completed by 2024.
It includes twin tunnels beneath the Brisbane River and four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert St and Roma St.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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