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NSW Audit reveals BER waste

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MEDIA RELEASE NSW Audit reveals BER waste

Further evidence of waste and mismanagement in the school hall program was delivered today in the form of a New South Wales Audit report into the Building the Education revolution.

“The findings show that four out of every ten schools in NSW felt they didn’t receive value for money,” said Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education.

“The report also found that buildings could have been up to 39.7 per cent cheaper had they been independently tendered, and the maximum 4 per cent in management fees stipulated in the guidelines had been exceeded by the NSW Government,” he said.

“At a recent Senate Inquiry, the Federal Government’s BER investigator, Brad Orgill, said ‘there was no evidence to say that value for money hadn’t been achieved’.

In direct conflict with the Orgill Taskforce, the NSW Auditor found there was no justification for approving quotes that were substantially higher than normal, just to meet the time constraints imposed by the Federal Government.

“The NSW auditor found that the Rudd/Gillard Government’s failure to define what ‘value for money’ meant in this program allowed room for attempts to justify over-charging as a speed premium. As it stands, the BER is still months, if not years behind schedule.

“Ultimately without a full judicial inquiry into the school hall program, Australians will never know the true extent of the waste and mismanagement.

“The Coalition successfully passed a motion in the Senate this year with the support of crossbench Senators calling on the Government to release all BER costings, which was ignored.

“In the New Year this audit report, along with other evidence, will be used to build a strong case with crossbench Members and Senators to support the creation of a judicial inquiry,” Mr Pyne said.

December 7, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT: Adam Howard 0400 414 833