Water prices increase to pay for $300 million contract with no tender

In Assembly Estimates this morning, the ACT government failed to justify why it entered into a $300 million contract without a tender process or expressions of interest, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

The Estimates Committee took the extraordinary step of recalling the Minister and officials from Icon Water, a body wholly owned by the ACT Government, to answer questions about the contract.

“Rather than use the government’s own in-house Shared Services provider, Icon Water has given an 11 year contract to ActewAGL,” Mr Coe said.

“For some reason, Icon Water has given a sweetheart deal to the private company, ActewAGL rather than use the in-house services.

“In the recall hearing this morning, the Minister and officials:

  • Refused to say if bonuses were paid to senior staff responsible for the deal
  • Refused to release the agreements
  • Confirmed the contract was not audited
  • Confirmed there are no financial penalties for non-performance or under performance
  • Confirmed no market testing was undertaken before entering into the contract
  • Confirmed no analysis has been done to show whether the contract is delivering value for money to the people of Canberra
  • Confirmed the cost of this contract is part of the massive increase to water prices

“The government has bypassed usual processes to enter into a huge contract without tendering.

“I call again on the government to make the two agreements public.

“Yet again the government’s secret deals are costing Canberrans,” Mr Coe concluded