Public-private partnerships to cost province more?
Today in the House of Assembly’s Question Period, NDP MHAs sounded alarm bells about the possibility of for-profit models of public infrastructure. As increasing evidence comes to light about the mediocre track record of public-private partnerships in other jurisdictions, there are indications the government of Newfoundland and Labrador is ready to turn to the P3 model for badly needed provincial infrastructure.
“We know this government is considering public-private partnerships for hospital construction,” said NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi.)
“I ask the Premier is he also considering evidence from Auditors General in five provinces about high costs and poor management of P3 highways, hospitals and other public works?”
Michael pointed to the Ontario Auditor General’s report on Infrastructure Ontario’s poor track record, which cost taxpayers $8 billion more than if projects had been publicly financed and managed.
St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers wants to know how the province’s finances will be protected if government decides to experiment with P3s.
“The government has just tabled legislation in the House of Assembly to establish a new Procurement Act,” she said.
“Given that we know P3s in other jurisdictions cost taxpayers more money, I ask the Premier what powers will the Procurement Act and the Auditor General Act have to ensure public interest is being well served if this government decides to ignore the warnings and move ahead with P3s?”