Lessons must be learnt from Huawei Contract Debacle

Jul 11, 2022 | State News, Tjorn Sibma MLC

Shadow METRONET Minister, Tjorn Sibma, has formally requested the State’s Auditor General inquire into the Public Transport Authority’s handling of the abandoned Huawei-UGL contract for the Radio Systems Replacement Project.

“The failed procurement process has led to cost escalations of over $120 million, plus termination payments of at least $6.6 million.  With a $127 million price for failure, the contract deserves to be scrutinised to ensure that future Government contracts don’t suffer from the same fate.”

Mr Sibma said that a responsible, transparent government would welcome an inquiry into the failed contract by the Auditor General.

“It is in the Government’s best interests to examine what went wrong, and identify how to prevent such expensive mistakes happening again in the future.”

“By choosing secrecy instead of committing to a transparent review, the Minister leaves the clear impression the Government has something to hide.”

“It is outrageous that not one person has been held accountable for the $127 million additional cost to the WA taxpayer.”

Mr Sibma said that the Auditor General was best placed to provide an independent review of the failure of the Public Transport Authority and Minister for Transport and make recommendations to government to protect WA taxpayers.

“Only by getting a clear understanding of why the PTA and Minister awarded the contract to the Huawei-UGL consortium, contrary to market advice, will we be able to ensure that future procurements do not repeat the same mistakes.”

“As the Auditor General has already lamented the ‘lack of transparency in major project reporting’, an inquiry into the failed Radio Systems Replacement Contract will assist in building the community’s trust and confidence around the management of the State’s significant investment of public money in major public assets.”

“While Western Australians are rightfully angry about the waste of public funds, the focus now should be ensuring that failures like these do not become a permanent fixture of WA government procurement.”