AllThanks James. The business case has, as I had suggested above, a large focus on port competition and mineral sands. The port competition is the reason that the final plan was chosen over the much simpler idea of running a line across from Lascelles line to Hopetoun or Litchfield and Minyip which would not have allowed port competition for grain particularly on the Manang and Sea Lake lines.
Ive uploaded the business case to the Railpage reports section.
Download here (18MB file)
It only took me till page 11 to find the interesting part about oversight (the emphasis is mine)
"This project has been identified as a High Value High Risk Project (HVHR) so is subject to extra
scrutiny and ongoing involvement by the Treasurer and the Department of Treasury and Finance
(DTF) as it passes through the project lifecycle.
The project will be delivered by V/Line under the direction of Public Transport Victoria (PTV) as the
client and with advice from the Project Steering Committee, led by PTV, with input from DTF, the
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), Department of
Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and V/Line."
So with prior acknowledgement of the risks and that many sets of eyes overseeing it how was it allowed to go so far wrong before someone stepped in. There should have (not saying there weren't just don't know) performance clauses in the contract allowing for running checks on quality of work and progress. Failure of the contractor to meet either one during the course of the works should have resulted in intervention from at least one of the listed parties.
The term asleep at the wheel comes to mind.