Liberals 'knew of rail costs' before election, Tesch claims
The Liberal Government was aware of the escalating costs of the Woy Woy railway underpass before the 2015 State election, according documents secured by the Labor Party under Freedom of Information legislation.
The estimates showed construction costs had escalated from $52 million to $112 million to complete the project.
However, the Government kept quiet about the estimates until after the election, when it used them "as an excuse to scrap the project", according to Labor candidate Ms Liesl Tesch.
The Labor Party had obtained hundreds of pages of documents, emails, minutes of meetings and payment claims under Freedom of Information legislation, she said.
"According to the documents, the State Government was made aware of the increased costs associated with the project on multiple occasions prior to the 2015 State Election.
"In October last year, the former Minister for Roads, Mr Duncan Gay, claimed it was the former Gosford Council that had not adequately costed the project or informed the Government of the cost blowouts, despite numerous emails and documents suggesting otherwise," she said.
The documents revealed that Central Coast Council had continued to receive funding for ongoing work on the project.
By October 2016, the expenditure breakdown was roughly $4.1 million for project management and consultancy fees; $5.8 million on the pedestrian underpass and adjacent road and footpath work and $5.3 million on preparatory works for the rail underpass and road construction at the base of Bulls Hill.
"Total expenditure to date is in the vicinity of $15.2 million," the documents revealed.
According to Ms Tesch, it was current NSW Premier, Ms Gladys Berejiklian, who botched the project when she was Transport Minister, by adopting a "head-in-the-sand" approach to its true cost.
"This reveals a scandal," Ms Tesch said.
"These documents reveal a State Liberal Government that have shown complete disregard for the Central Coast.
"It hasn't shown or applied the slightest bit of care or attention for the Central Coast.
"Premier Berejiklian has overseen massive spending on Sydney-centric projects and is happy to bury her head in the sand when it comes funding our local infrastructure.
"The Liberal candidate for Gosford needs to make a commitment to cleaning up the mess left behind by the Premier," she said.
Liberal candidate for Gosford, Ms Jilly Pilon, has claimed the $52 million promised by the NSW Government for the railway underpass was still available.
However, she said the Council would need to find the remainder of the money to complete the now $112 million project.
Media release, 14 Mar 2017
Liesl Tesch, Labor Candidate for Gosford
Interview, 16 Mar 2017
Jilly Pilon, Liberal Candidate for Gosford
Reporter: Jackie Pearson