The Victorian Government could be forced to pay the Queensland Government’s investment arm millions of dollars for ripping up the contract for Melbourne’s East West Link.
The government-owned Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) has a 30 per cent stake in East West Connect, the consortium contracted to build the $6.8 million toll road.
The Labor Government plans to tear up the contract, which was signed by previous Coalition government, and is in negotiations with the consortium over possible compensation.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he wanted to protect the interests of taxpayers but would not be drawn into the issue.
“I’m not going to run a commentary on the likely outcome for each of the 29 different financial institutions that are part of this, that would not be responsible,” he said.
“It might be politically easy for me to do that, it might even be politically convenient, but that’s not what’s most important here.
“A good outcome for taxpayers, that’s what’s driving me in this and I won’t waver from that.”
Mr Andrews said during last year’s election campaign that the contact was not worth the paper it was written on.
He said he did not want to jeopardise negotiations with the winning bidder.
“We’re going to work through these issues very carefully, in a considered way, and we’re going to make sure that we don’t put Victorian taxpayers at risk,” Mr Andrews said.
“I think a conversation about costs that have been incurred, that’s a fair thing.
“A shake-down, you might call it, about super profits … for these companies, that’s not a fair thing.”
The Andrews Government has not ruled out using special legislation to avoid paying compensation.
A spokeswoman for QIC said it was still in talks with the Government.
“The Victorian Government has entered into binding agreements with the consortium which include compensation should the project not proceed,” she said.
“The consortium as a whole is working with the Victorian Government on a resolution.”
The Queensland Government said the corporation was an independent body, so decisions were a matter for QIC.