Safety of commuters at risk as Labor delays City Loop shutdown

08 May 2022

Urgent fire and safety upgrades that require the shutdown of the entire metro City Loop will not be complete until the end of 2023, this year’s Budget papers show.

The project has also blown out by 10 times its original budget after delays and mismanagement by the Andrews Labor Government.

Originally funded in 2014 at $43 million, the 2022-23 Victorian State Budget revealed it will now cost an estimated $468.9 million.

And despite an “iron-clad” guarantee from Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll that the work will finally be completed by the end of this year, the Budget papers say it now won’t be finished before the end of 2023.

Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Public Transport, Steph Ryan said it was another cost blowout in a Labor Budget that confirmed wasteful spending on major projects is now at $28.1 billion.

“The Andrews Labor Government has put the safety of the thousands of people a day who use the City Loop at risk by failing to complete these works,” Ms Ryan said.

“The entire City Loop has to close for two weeks to complete these fire and safety upgrades.”

“After the project was abandoned for four years, Labor has now confirmed that this work won’t take place until January 2023 - conveniently after the November State Election.”

“This work should have been prioritised over COVID when the city was at a standstill. Now the CBD faces massive disruption at a time when it still hasn’t recovered from lockdowns.”

Ms Ryan said the project was yet another example of the Andrews Labor Government’s inability to manage major projects.

“Yet again Victorian taxpayers are being forced to pick up the bill for Labor’s incompetence,” Ms Ryan said.

After coming to government in 2014 the Andrews Government revised the total expenditure on the project to $132.8m before a new contractor was sought for the works.

“It’s now 10 years since the Ombudsman identified serious safety risks with the City Loop and eight years since the former Liberals and Nationals Government allocated funds to the project. The delay on this work is inexcusable,” Ms Ryan said.

“The last thing Victorians need is more disruption from the Andrews Labor Government as they try and recover and rebuild after two years of government overreach and failures.”

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