This morning there were breathless reports in the Australian that Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has shares in Transurban. For non-Victorians Transurban is the company that owns the CityLink road network and earns lots of toll revenue. It has just got a sweetheart deal from the state government whereby additional tolls earned on the CityLink project will be used to finance another road project.
The Andrews Government granted operator Transurban a 10-year extension of tolls on CityLinkto 2044-45, to help fund the $6.7-billion West Gate Tunnel, which is under construction.
Under the deal, Transurban is spending $4 billion to build the West Gate Tunnel, along with a contribution from taxpayers.
So I read the article.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas holds shares in the transport infrastructure company that stands to make $37.3 billion in extra tolls from motorists in exchange for investing just $4bn in the Andrews government’s West Gate Tunnel.
Sounds bad. But then:
Mr Pallas’s register of members’ interests shows he has a “Blue Chip 20 Long Term Equity — Series 3” account with Westpac, made up of shares in the top 20 ASX companies. Transurban is currently No 15 in the ASX top 20.
Effectively he holds shares in a unit trust.