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Infrastructure Strategy must secure NSW’s economic future

19 June, 2008

NSW’s largest business group, NSW Business Chamber has said that the delivery of the State Infrastructure Strategy on time and on budget represents the most significant management challenge for the NSW Government in the medium term. Source: NSW Business Chamber.

“This $140 billion plan is about securing our energy and water needs, making our cities more liveable and our businesses more cost effective. Managing such complex projects will not be an easy task; if it were easy then it would have already been done. Whilst we welcome the release of this comprehensive update, we are aware that the proof will be in its timely and cost effective delivery,” said Ian Penfold, President of NSW Business Chamber.

“We are not going to judge the Government’s performance by the quality of its brochures but by its ability to deliver these projects on time and on budget.”

“Since the previous State Infrastructure Strategy released in May 2006, interest rates have risen six times and petrol prices have risen to record highs of $1.60 a litre or more. Patronage on public transport networks is increasing and it is critical that this strategy urgently delivers additional transport capacity. The fact is petrol prices are only going to continue to increase and we can expect further patronage growth in coming years.”

“The Government itself admits there has been chronic underinvestment in infrastructure over the past decade. This strategy is about catching up on lost time and getting the infrastructure pieces in place in water, energy, health, education and transport to secure the future economic development of the state.”

“If this plan is to be credible then it must not be a wish list, rather it must deliver against the commitments. Clearly, the funding for such a major infrastructure strategy depends on the strengthening of the NSW balance sheet from electricity privatisation. NSW Business Chamber is a strong supporter of the Government's privatisation strategy and we are hopeful the legislation will pass through both houses of Parliament.”

"However, it should be noted, we are concerned about the lack of urgency that appears to be surrounding some of the critical crucial missing road links in Sydney’s orbital network. The Government continues to drag its feet when it comes to committing to the M4 and F6 extensions and the F3 to M2 link. Businesses on the North Coast are also impatient about progress in relation to the Pacific Highway - the announcement of additional funding in the Budget was welcome, but this project is long overdue,” Penfold concluded.

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