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The Opposition leader Barry O'Farrel today has told the people of Sydney, and NSW, that the Liberal Party will terminate the Metro project if they win the next state Election in 2011. When asked about the prospect of compensation to the tunnel operators, he replied that Nathan and the ALP will wear the blame.
The New South Wales Opposition has committed to scrapping Sydney's multi-billion-dollar CBD metro rail project during construction, no matter what the cost to the taxpayer.
The State Government has set the price tag for the metro at no more than $5.3 billion but costings published by News Limited today estimate the bill to be $2 billion more.
The costings, put forward by companies bidding for metro projects, outline extra expenses, including tunnelling twice under Sydney Harbour.
The CBD Metro Authority says the figures are wrong and tender documents for the tunnelling are not due until late November.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell has seized on the reports, saying he will kill off the CBD metro if he wins the next election.
According to the Government's plans, the tunnels will already be under construction by that time.
"If there's any compensation over and above $50 million, it will hang around the neck of Nathan Rees," Mr O'Farrell told ABC 702 Sydney Local Radio.
"We will not be held back from scrapping the project and if that involves a waste of taxpayer dollars, that will be on the head of Mr Rees and his Labor Party."
Asked about the costings today, NSW Transport Minister David Campbell has evaded questions on whether he can guarantee the CBD metro will be delivered on budget and on time.
"There is a tender process under way and if I were to become involved in a public negotiation around that tender process, next week you'll be asking me questions about the probity of that tender process," he said. "I'm not going to play that game."
However, Premier Nathan Rees is standing by the $5.3 billion cost estimate. He says the State Opposition has proposed other rail and road projects that are not funded.
"I know the Leader of the Opposition has been saying he will scrap this project but he's going to spend it on three other additional projects now: a south-western rail line, a line to the north-west and as recently as this week, the Pacific Highway upgrade," he said.
"Well guess what? Not enough money for that. This is a back-of-the envelope policy and they ought to be under similar scrutiny."
The CBD Metro Authority says the $5.3 billion cost estimate includes the cost of all the stations and Sydney Harbour tunnelling.
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