Government expenditure and transport planning in relation to implementing Barangaroo

The Auditor-General, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released his report on Government expenditure and transport planning for the implementation of the Barangaroo project. 

Barangaroo is an ambitious and significant development on Government-owned Sydney Harbour foreshore. Construction on the 22 hectare CBD site is expected to take 12 years to 2023. Developer contributions to Government of $1 billion are to provide for public domain and other Government development costs, including a six hectare Headland Park. When completed the precinct is to service an anticipated 26,000 workers and residents and up to 33,000 visitors a day. 

The Auditor-General concluded that while there was extensive transport planning and extensive documentation supporting Government financial forecasts, considerable risks remain for the implementation of the Barangaroo project. 

“The success of Barangaroo depends very much on people being able to get there and leave with ease” said Mr Achterstraat. “Wynyard station is nearing capacity and will need to handle many more commuters. Transport solutions for the CBD need to be started and completed on time”, he added.

Sixty three per cent of Barangaroo commuters are expected to come by rail in the AM peak. Wynyard station will need to handle a predicted increase of 3,900 Barangaroo commuters daily from December 2013, growing to 8,700 in September 2015, 13,100 in December 2020 and 14,300 in December 2023.

The report also highlighted significant risks for the Government’s 15-year financial forecast. Revenue from the developer may be more or less than expected as a significant amount is based on future market values of the developer’s buildings. Public domain construction costs may be greater than expected and some have increased recently. 

Mr Achterstraat said, “Barangaroo’s financial forecast has not been comprehensively revised since December 2009. An update is especially important as the project enters its construction phase.”

There is some related public expenditure not in the Authority’s financial forecast. These include part of the cost of the Barangaroo Pedestrian Link ($186m), three ferry wharves at Barangaroo ($45m estimate) and the fit-out of the cultural space within the Headland Park (yet to be estimated).

Mr Achterstraat recommends, “Costs need to be monitored very closely so that the public domain part of Barangaroo remains within the $1 billion budget and at no cost to Government. Any savings could fund other Government projects like schools and hospitals.” 

“A lot needs to be done before the Barangaroo precinct is successfully completed”, added Mr Achterstraat. 
Further information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220/0403 073 664 or