Govt shouldn't delay new infrastructure: Property Council
21/01/2011 - Governments must not delay major new infrastructure projects because they will aid Queensland's flood recovery, the Property Council of Australia says.
Premier Anna Bligh has said tough choices will have to be made to return the state's budget to surplus as planned in 2015-16, suggesting unspecified projects will be put on the backburner.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also said difficult decisions lie ahead to return the federal budget to surplus in 2012-13.
The council's Queensland executive director Kathy Mac Dermott on Thursday warned that delays to major new infrastructure projects would slow the state's recovery.
"We cannot afford to postpone investment in the critical infrastructure needed across Queensland because of the need to invest in rebuilding flood-damaged infrastructure," Mac Dermott said in a statement.
Investment in new infrastructure needed to happen alongside the flood recovery effort, she said.
"These programs need to run concurrent with the floods recovery process if we are to kickstart the economy and restore investor confidence in Queensland," Mac Dermott said.
The council has been a strong supporter of decisions by governments to fund infrastructure through debt.
"Now is not the time to set agendas for budget surpluses and restoration of credit ratings - as politically challenging as this will be," Mac Dermott said.
"We must get on with the job and invest where investment is warranted."
Bligh said flood recovery would be the first priority in the budget.
"But we won't be walking away from the critical infrastructure that Queensland needs to grow," she told reporters on a visit to Condamine on Thursday.
"We understand that major projects are important in the short term for economic recovery but, just as critically, they're essential to our long-term prosperity."
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