Rail fail inquiry hints at lawsuit
AN INQUIRY into the State Government's botched delivery of new trains worth $4.4 billion could end in a lawsuit.
Commissioner, retired judge Michael Forde said yesterday that his four-month inquiry into the project's flaws found no evidence that successive ministers or top officials had been told the train design was illegal.
But he said the inquiry exposed a lack of consultation with the disability sector.
The design issues were not raised with Transport Director-General Neil Scales until 2016 - three years after the contract for 75 new trains was signed by a public-private consortium led by manufacturer Bombardier.
Mr Forde flagged potential legal action between the project consortium Qtectic, which includes the Government, and Bombardier, saying, "I don't think it's resolved yet".
"It could lead to litigation. They are working through some major issues as to who is going to build what, when," he said.
Mr Forde handed his final report to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday after winding up the inquiry into how the trains were ordered with toilets and aisles that contravened the Disability Discrimination Act.
It led to the state copping a bill of at least $150 million to rectify the issues.
The report will go to Cabinet on Monday and is expected to be released after that.
"There's no evidence that any of these problems were brought up in any formal way on any of the documents we had whereby the D-Gs were aware of it," Mr Forde said.
"There's a suggestion from middle management that they did, but when you look at all the minutes, it's not there.
"They say it was mentioned at meetings, but given the denials of the Directors-General and the documents we have, the problem occurred at middle management level.
"There were issues raised, but not the ones we were dealing with on disability (access)."
The procurement process was hit by multiple disruptions. The project was passed from Queensland Rail, to Projects Queensland and then to the Transport Department, along with a change of Government to the LNP in 2012 and back to Labor in 2015.
"Once (Transport and Main Roads department) took it over you had this tension, as it were, between QR and TMR which didn't point towards what I would describe as a cooperative (relationship)," Mr Forde said.
He said there were alternative ways the state could have met the disability legislation requirements, but representatives hadn't put their minds to it.