Labor keeps costs of new RAT manufacturing facility hidden

Liberal Party Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government has refused to disclose how much a new Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) manufacturing facility will cost Victorian taxpayers.

The 2022-23 Budget Papers state that funding for this facility has been provided to Lumos Diagnostics-Planet Innovation through both a grant and a repayable loan, but bizarrely the cost for these are not outlined within the Budget.

Instead, the relevant line in the Budget has no allocation against the project – not a single cent, and provides absolutely no details on the terms of the loan.

Under repeated questioning in Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings, Minister Pulford refused to answer questions about how much of taxpayers’ money was being spent on this project.

Shadow Minister for Innovation and Medical Research, Bridget Vallence, said it was outrageous that the Andrews Labor Government was refusing to tell taxpayers the true cost of this new facility, especially given the promised start date is only five months away.

“All we get from Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government is deceit and spin.

“It’s absurd that we have a major project listed in the budget that has received taxpayer money through grants and loans, but taxpayers are kept in the dark about how much it will actually cost them.

“If the Labor Government claims this facility will produce 50 million RATs per annum, then it must know how much it will cost Victorian taxpayers to make them.

“Why is the Labor Government keeping these costs hidden from the public, what are they hiding? Excuses about ‘commercial in confidence’ simply don’t cut it.

“Every cent of taxpayers’ money has to be accounted for, and if this project is only five months away, then taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent.”

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