THE New South Wales government has announced that Sydney’s City & South West Metro project will cost $A 20.11bn ($US 13.46bn) rather than the most recent cost estimate of $A 18.5bn, and that more funds will be needed to complete it.

The cost increase has prompted the newly-elected Labor government to order an independent inquiry to examine the delivery models, cost increases and final likely cost of the project.

The new government, led by premier, Mr Chris Minns, also revealed that the Metro West line would cost more than $A 25bn rather than the original estimate of $A 18bn. He refused to rule out modifications to the station construction programme, including not proceeding with some projects,  in light of the $A 6bn cost overrun.

“I think common sense dictates that in order to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes twice, we’ve got experts in the room to make sure the taxpayers of this state know we are getting value for money,” Minns said. He added that work on both projects, which has started, would proceed as planned while the inquiry was under way.

Minns said it was undeniable the projects were “in trouble and need rescuing,” but wanted to move forward rather than dwell on past decisions. “I’m not interested in casting blame or putting on a show trial in relation to the previous government,” he said.

The review will be led by former Commonwealth head of infrastructure, Mr Mike Mrdak, assisted by former Queensland Transport and Main Roads department director-general, Ms Amanda Yeates.

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