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‘You’ve had a shocker’: Ben asks why Minister dodged $500-million question

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has confirmed the company behind Sydney’s Light Rail project has been loaned $500 million, but the money didn’t come from the state government.

The project is a year behind schedule and the cost has already blown out by half a billion dollars.

Earlier today, the minister repeatedly dodged questions from Labor MLC Daniel Mookhey about whether he’d asked the Treasurer for more money to ensure the project didn’t go under.

Mr Mookhey, “I imagine if you did indeed borrow $500 million, and asked the Treasurer for $500 million to stop the CBD Light Rail from falling into insolvency, that is something you’d remember. Did you?

Mr Constance, “Let me tell you this, the premise and the assertions of your question… are absolutely wrong. The premise of your question is wrong.”

When pressed again, Mr Constance deflected saying “what I’ve indicated to you is that we’re going to get on and build this project”.

Mr Constance has since confirmed the company behind Sydney’s Light Rail project – ALTRAC – has been loaned an extra $500 million but insists it hasn’t come from New South Wales taxpayers.

He says ALTRAC received the interim funds privately, and they will be paid back.

“Minister, you’ve had a shocker there, today,” Ben Fordham says.

“I don’t know why he didn’t just say to the Labor MP, ‘No, we’re not loaning $500 million, because it’s not coming strictly from the state government.”

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