Questions: Western Distributor

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Treasurer, and it is regarding the western distributor business case. Yesterday the Melbourne Metro rail business case, released by the Treasurer, included references to an independent peer review undertaken of the transport modelling and forecast. Can the Treasurer confirm that the traffic modelling and forecast in the western distributor business case were also subject to an independent peer review?

Mr PALLAS (Treasurer) — As a matter of practice, when it comes to the management of these projects, may I assure the member for Prahran that independent reviews are conducted. It is a standard process of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the department that is responsible for this. I am not sure it is actually something that falls directly within my brief, but I can assure the member that we have kept an eye on it and made sure that there are in fact independent reviews of it — that is, independent of the process that has been put in place. Independent reviews have been conducted — —

Mr M. O'Brien interjected.

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Malvern!

Mr PALLAS — Not only are those reviews independent of the group that performs the original work but the department itself does oversight an independent review.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — Given one of the findings of the Auditor-General's report into the 
east–west link was that the east–west link business case did not provide a sound basis for the government's decision to commit to the investment because it did not adequately address significant issues raised about the traffic modelling by peer reviewers, will the Treasurer make the western distributor traffic modelling peer review and the government response publicly available so the public can have confidence that this is not another dodgy road project like the east–west link?

Mr PALLAS (Treasurer) — Once again I thank the member for Prahran. Look, this is a government that actually supports both road and rail projects. We have absolutely no doubt that it is important that there are rigorous processes of assessment. We also recognise that it is absolutely important that during the process of commercial negotiations the interests of the taxpayer are protected and we get the best possible value for money. I can assure the member that we take our responsibilities seriously in assessing not only the traffic modelling but also the long-term viability of the business case for this and all other projects. That is why this government is releasing business cases. That is why we released the business case for the western distributor. That is why we have released the business case, of course, for Melbourne Metro.