Cost to finish troubled VicRoads system leaps again

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Cost to finish troubled VicRoads system leaps again

RandL completion estimated at nearly $300m.

Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle has revealed VicRoads’ doomed registration system replacement is likely to cost $135 million above what has already been spent, $35 million more than has been previously reported.

The Roads and Licensing (RandL) project is one of the last of the ten blighted IT initiatives highlighted by the Victorian Ombudsman in November 2011 still running. Several have been completed and the remainder – such as HealthSMART – have been cancelled.

In February this year, work on RandL was halted for 12 months after a review found it was hopelessly over budget and running 18 months late.

In a statement to the Herald Sun, VicRoads estimated the project would cost $100 million to complete, taking the full project expenditure to $259 million, well beyond the $158.5 million originally approved.

But in a report tabled to parliament yesterday, the Victorian Auditor’s office placed the new estimate for project completion at $293 million.

In a budget estimates session earlier this year, Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder described RandL as the “little brother” of the notoriously trouble-prone smartcard ticketing system Myki.

“The project was paused to review and better understand how customers interact with the agency today, including the shift to online transactions,” he said.

“We were not going to continue to proceed with this project given the fact that there were red lights flashing in terms of massive cost blow-outs to take the project forward.”

RandL was this week drawn into the Auditor-General's latest report into the government’s high value/high risk project scrutiny scheme, run out of the Department of Treasury and Finance.

RandL was brought under the HVHR when it came into effect in 2011, but still managed to fall through the gaps, the Auditor said.

“Neither the management nor oversight applied to the RandL project, including HVHR monitoring, was effective in detecting or controlling risks before they materialised to significantly delay the project and increase the estimated cost of delivery," Doyle said.

“A key reason for this was the lack of skills and depth of experience needed to manage and oversee a complex project of this type."

The report advised "clear scope" to improve how the HVHR process is managed and to make it more efficient, transparent and accountable.

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