Daniel Andrews’ agreement with the Chinese Government hands Chinese companies the “inside running” on bidding for Victorian infrastructure projects.
The deal commits Victoria to “increasing the participation of Chinese infrastructure companies in Victoria’s infrastructure construction program” but has no equivalent commitment on the Chinese side. Instead, Victorian firms are offered platitudes of merely “promoting cooperation of Victorian firms in China” (article 3).
The public interest demands fair and open tenders for Victoria’s major projects, not deals that give the “inside running” to any other nation’s companies.
With two of the four bidders for the multi-billion dollar North East Link project backed by Chinese firms, the Premier’s comments cast doubt on the integrity of the tender process and Victoria’s reputation as a fair place to do business.
Victorians deserve value for money in the big infrastructure projects we pay for. We won’t get that if the Labor Government has decided that some bidders get the “inside running” at the expense of others.
The Liberal Nationals know that Victoria needs strong investment relationships and partnerships across the globe. China plays and will continue to play a very strong and important role in this.
However, it is the job of the Victorian Premier to ensure that Victoria’s interests come first.
Daniel Andrews has failed that test.