when the NSW Labor Government thought the Cross City Tunnel mess had been buried
by Terror Laws, legal challenges to the new IR laws and problems in the Lane
Cove Tunnel, along comes the most serious allegations
somewhere in the NSW Government has been accused of leaking sensitive
information to the Cross City Tunnel consortium. The claim will be referred to
the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption
accuser isn’t some opponent, even though the accusation was raised by the NSW
Opposition: the actual accuser is the then Roads Minister, Carl Scully, in a
letter to then Infrastructure Minister Craig Knowles, in December
the story from the Sydney Morning Herald, which unfortunately buried the
explosive story on Page 3 this morning
and here’s a better story from the Sydney Daily Telegraph which splashed the
yarn on page one with much more detail.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Tele says ‘the letter from Mr Scully to Mr Knowles dated
December 3, 2003 stated:
I must record my disappointment and concern
at the fact that extracts from the draft Cabinet Minute on this issue have been
sighted by members of the CrossCity Motorway
Consortium means the Government’s ability to secure an outcome which best
protects the interests of the NSW taxpayers may have been compromised.
Mr Knowles’ chief of staff at the time of the alleged leak,
Paul Levins, is now head of corporate affairs for
Bilfinger Berger – a 30% shareholder in the
tunnel and parent of Baulderstone Hornibrook.
“We reject completely
any suggestion that the company would have acted improperly,” he said last
But the irony of it all is that Scully’s
letter was included in the 30,000 pages of documents the Government dropped into
the NSW Parliament as the Melbourne Cup was being run on Tuesday
It thought it was being extremely clever,
but clearly no one, not the Minister Joe Tripodi (the
right wing factional mug who has shimmied up the greasy pole by backing Morris
Iemma) nor any Government minder, went through the
documents before they were released.
For that we should be thankful, because if
someone had vetted them, you can bet that the Scully letter and all related
correspondence would have been ‘disappeared’ and we would have had to depend on
the former Minister blowing the whistle about the absence.
And there’s a further irony here. Early
this week the head of ICAC, former Judge Jerrold Cripps, complained that the
budget cuts imposed by the Iemma Government were
restricting the commission’s investigations.
basically said “tough” when asked to comment, saying all non-frontline areas of
government had to take cuts.
I bet you now that if ICAC says its investigations are being hampered, especially this one,
the Government will rush to provide more money.
And Millionaire Bob is not out of the
woods: he was Premier when this claimed leak happened.
It’s about time the former Premier started
answering a few questions on the Cross City Tunnel, under oath if necessary at