Audit finds Woy Woy car spaces will cost $211,000 each
An audit by the Australian National Audit Office has found the upgrade of the Woy Woy commuter carpark was 4.3 times the benchmark cost for the project.
Announced before the 2019 Federal election, the project costing $30 million will provide 140 car spaces - a cost of $211,000 per space.
The cost per space was the highest tabulated by the audit office.
The project was not included in a Ministerial briefing and it did not fall within eligibility criteria for funding, the audit report found.
The audit examined the "Administration of Commuter Car Park Projects within the Urban Congestion Fund" by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
The audit found that the Woy Woy upgrade was one of seven projects "not included by the department in its briefing to the Minister on the consultant's report for which assessment work was completed between July and December 2020".
"The department had not used the results of the benchmarking work to inform Ministerial consideration of whether Australian Government funding should be awarded to either scope or deliver car park projects."
The audit also found that, while the department provided a "benefit cost ratio calculation tool for commuter car park projects" to Central Coast Council, "the department did not require proponents seeking funding for scoping or development work to provide a benefit cost ratio with their proposal".
The audit also raised the question of whether the Woy Woy upgrade was eligible for funding under the National Land Transport Act.
"Of the 29 projects assessed by the department as being eligible, there were 10 proposed sites, or options, that were more than 130 meters from a rail station and not attached or readily attachable to that station.
"On 14 December 2020, as recommended by the department, the Minister approved the scoping phase of the Commuter Car Park Upgrade - Woy Woy project.
"This phase involves refining four site options to one preferred option.
"As per the extract of the scoping project proposal report at Figure 4.2, some of the site options are not attached, or readily attachable, to the station."
Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch commented: "Scott Morrison and Lucy Wicks promised more car parking at Woy Woy train station before the 2019 Federal election.
"Two years on, we have no construction, only a plan to build Australia's most expensive carpark at more than $211,000 per space."
Performance audit report, 28 Jun 2021
Australian National Audit Office
Social media, 30 Jun 2021
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford