M.A.D.E blowout council's responsibility as governments wash hands of museum cost

ANY cost blowout at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka is solely Ballarat City Council’s responsibility, according to both the state and federal governments.

Regional Development Victoria (RDV) said yesterday its funding agreement with the council stated any project overruns would be borne locally.

The state and federal governments both contributed $5 million to the newly opened museum, while the council put in $1.1 million.

In a statement to The Courier, RDV said: “On 4 May, 2013, M.A.D.E was opened to the public with a press release issued from the council indicating that the total project cost had increased from $11.1 to $11.9 million. As per the state’s contractual arrangements, these additional costs incurred were born by council.

“Any further cost overruns that may have been identified since that time remain the responsibility of council, and have not been communicated to the state government.”

Federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss’s spokesman Brett Heffernan also said the project had been “fully acquitted” as far as the federal government was concerned.

“The alleged cost increase is a matter for council, as they are responsible for any cost increases in accordance with their funding agreement,” Mr Heffernan said.

On November 9 it was revealed construction delays and site conditions had caused an “unexpected overrun” in M.A.D.E’s budget.

However, Ballarat City Council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck refused to release the financial costings at the time because the matter was still ongoing.

“It is not possible to provide exact figures at this point,” he said.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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