Just how much money is involved in paying for westCONnex?
The original business case for westCONnex stated a project cost of $10 billion.
An updated business case for westCONnex was released in November 2015.
So now, the stated project cost for westCONnex is $16.812 billion. That’s a massive cost blowout of 68.12%, and that’s before any project milestones have been achieved.
Expect the cost to blow out much further during the course of the project.
But how much, really, is $16.812 billion? Our politicians seem to use the words ‘billion’ and ‘million’ interchangeably, and as taxpayers, we no longer appreciate that a billion dollars is 1,000 times more than a million dollars.
$16.812 billion. That’s sixteen thousand eight hundred and twelve bundles of one million dollars.
Just what does that look like?
Reach under your mattress and drag out the million dollars you’ve stashed away for a rainy day, and dump it on the dining room table. I’m assuming that you’re only using $100 notes, because that’s the most efficient way to store a million dollars. Congratulations – you have a pile of ten thousand $100 notes.
If you wanted to pay for westCONnex using cash you’d need to find another 16,811 identical piles of a million dollars. Somehow, I don’t think the dining room table will hold that much money.
Wikipedia gives us information about Australian polymer bank notes at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_… An Australian $100 polymer note measures 158 mm by 65 mm and is 0.1408 mm thick. Each note weighs 1.006 grams.
To pay for westCONnex using $100 notes would require 168,120,000 of these rare and precious $100 notes.
That’s one hundred and sixty-eight MILLION and one hundred and twenty thousand $100 notes.
Given that each note weighs 1.006 gm, that’s over 169 tonnes of $100 notes. Specifically, the figure is 169,128,720 grams, or 169,128.72 kg, or 169.12872 tonnes.
OzLotto’s truck full of cash comes nowhere near that. Think seventeen ten-tonne trucks or more loaded with cash.
Stacked on top of each other, these 168,120,000 notes would reach to a height of over 23.67 km. Specifically, the figure is 23,671,296 mm, or 23,671.296 m, or 23.671296 km.
But wait. The total road length of the westCONnex project is only 33 km.
Placed end-to-end, they would stretch a distance of 26,562.96 km. For comparison, the circumference of the earth at the equator is 40,075.16 km.
Clearly, this is a road made entirely of money.
But if you’re like me, it’s easier to get your hands on $50 notes. I can’t remember the last time I saw, let alone held, a $100 note.
So, given that a $50 polymer note measures 151 mm by 65 mm, is 0.14 mm thick, and weighs 0.955 grams, let’s revise our payment plan.
We’ll need 336,240,000 of these $50 notes, weighing over 321 tonnes. The stack now stands over 47 km high and end-to-end stretches around the world completely to 50,772.24 km.
These figures seem impossible to comprehend.
That’s because they relate to the westCONnex project that also is impossible to comprehend.
That such vast amounts of money would be spent on a project that fails to deliver its most fundamental goal – a link to the airport and the port – is sheer folly.
THAT’S how much money is set to be wasted on this folly of a project.
westCONnex = wasteCONnex!
We need to call on the Auditors-General at both state and federal levels to examine this rubbish project.
Show us alternative proposals such as public transport – BEFORE we show you our money!!