Barnett Govt ‘lost control’ of $91.5m Swan River Pedestrian Bridge project – report

The Optus Stadium precinct was commended in the report.
The Optus Stadium precinct was commended in the report.

THE Colin Barnett-led government “lost control” of the $91.5 million Swan River Pedestrian Bridge project, according to a new report.

The final report issued by the Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects found timelines on the project began to slip from the start.

“Once the contract was awarded to Bianco Engineering Services – Toyota Tsusho to construct the bridge in Malaysia, the fate of the project was sealed,” special inquirer John Langoulant said.

“At that point, the State lost control of the project and lost sight of the progress made on the project.”

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The contract was awarded in March 2015, with the report stating Main Roads WA failed to work effectively with other stakeholders which led to the changed location, and poor project management plagued the bridge.

The most recent target for the bridge’s completion is May 2018, after a decision to replace the Malaysian supplier with a local firm.

While the bridge has been overrun with delays, the inquiry report commended the Optus Stadium project.

“You cannot underestimate (the value of) working in close proximity on a daily basis, the exchange of information, and then you lose that – who’s in what department (mindset),” co-chair of the Optus Stadium steering committee Ron Alexander said.

Mr Langoulant said given the scale and complexity of the project, the project teams should be commended on their delivery of the stadium and precinct.

The report noted that despite the work on upgrading the transport network to the stadium, scheduling for weeknight AFL fixtures was restricted because of the peak hour rush and timetable clashes.

Attendance levels at these fixtures and the amount of taxpayer funded subsidy for public transport for the events will also affect the venue’s financial viability according to the special inquirer.

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