The main public servant in charge of Victoria's troubled myki public ticketing project is married to the auditor who was in charge of probity on the project's $1.3 billion contract, it emerged today.
The Age today reported that Garry Thwaites, who was last month appointed to head up the Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA), is the husband of former probity auditor Josie Thwaites, who oversaw the awarding of the project's $1.3 billion to the Kamco Consortium.
However, a spokesman for Public Transport minister Lynne Kosky said Garry Thwaites' appointment did not present a conflict of interest for the government.
Garry Thwaites was appointed by TTA's board last month, while Josie Thwaites ended her roll as auditor for the contract in October last year. "All that work had been completed before his appointment. They were never at the Transport and Ticketing Authority at the same time," the spokesman told ZDNet.com.au.
A February audit of the myki system revealed that the project would be delayed and had run over budget.
The Age reported that Josie Thwaites gave the tendering process for the contract a clean bill of health, although the newspaper claimed to have published leaks claiming TTA staff met bidders several times without the auditor being present. In addition, the newspaper wrote, former TTA chief Vivian Miners, who left the role in April, owned shares in a company that was part of the Kamco consortium.
A spokesperson for TTA said the myki system should be completed by the year 2010.
The TTA released results of initial trials of the myki system last month, claiming it has had some success with the system.
"There is still along way to go but this is a positive step forward for the project," Garry Thwaites said in a statement.
The Victorian government, however, is still keeping its options open as to whether it will claim compensation from the Kamco consortium due to the delays.
"The government reserves all rights in respect of this, but it hasn't been acted upon," Lynne Kosky's spokesman said.