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As Melbourne's public transport network creaks towards another punishing summer, evidence has emerged of where money that could be spent renewing the train and tram fleet is going: on consultants.
Just over $47 million - enough to buy at least nine trams or two trains - was spent on lawyers and engineering, accounting, technology, branding, advertising and marketing consultants to keep the train and tram system privatised.
The figures were revealed in response to a freedom-of-information request by The Age.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the spending was ''good value for money'' as the tendering process had taken three years and was highly complex. The re-tendering of Melbourne's trains and trams was headed by the department's commercial director, Ross Alexander, who also oversaw the bungled myki tender.
That $1.3 billion project is three years behind schedule and $350 million over budget.
Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the money spent on consultants should have been spent ''ensuring Melbourne's trains had effective air-conditioning, or on kilometres of new rails and concrete sleepers''.
Lawyers Allen Arthurs Robinson were paid $12 million for their advice on the bids. KPMG received $7.6 million for financial and commercial advice, and rail consultants Saha International $6.4 million. Engineers Aurecon were paid $3.4 million for technical advice.
RMIT transport planner Paul Mees said the hefty consultants' fees made it clear who the real winners were from the public transport privatisation. ''It isn't the public,'' he said. ''It's the operators and a bevy of generously remunerated consultants - at least some of whom helped put the system in place.''
A spokesman for Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the re-tendering had been one of the largest contracts this Government had signed.
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