Hon. Warren Truss MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Allegations in Fairfax Media today that the Government gave the “inside running” to Qube Holdings to develop the Moorebank Intermodal freight terminal are false.
Had anyone at Fairfax Media bothered to contact us about these claims, they would have been informed that the tender process is being managed entirely by the independent Board of the Moorebank Intermodal Company. The Board is a well-respected group of individuals entirely appointed by the former Labor Government.
The Abbott Government did not and could not “cut short” the competitive tendering process as Fairfax Media claimed this morning. The decision was solely a matter for Moorebank Intermodal Company, who were advised by probity auditors Walter and Partners.
When we were consulted on Moorebank Intermodal Company’s proposal, we specifically sought and obtained assurances about the integrity of the process.
Moorebank Intermodal Company advised us of their decision to negotiate with one respondent as the “respondent’s submission was significantly stronger than the others and willing to provide significant capital and take risk on freight volumes”.
This is entirely consistent with Moorebank Intermodal Company’s media release of 22 May 2014, stating: “The response from Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA, consisting of Qube and Aurizon) was so strong in comparison to the other respondents that it warrants a period of direct negotiation”.
Moorebank Intermodal Company has further advised us that it would have been unreasonable to expose other bidders to more expense while they were not sufficiently competitive.
The preferred bidder has not been allocated the contract – only a six-month exclusive negotiating opportunity.
The process remains competitive as two parties have been asked to remain on standby to re-enter negotiations should Moorebank Intermodal Company’s negotiations with SIMTA not lead to a successful outcome.
Mr Truss - Brett Heffernan - 0467 650 020
Minister Cormann - Karen Wu - 0428 350 139