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Business leaders get prepared to tackle infrastructure deficit

28 May, 2009

New ways of financing PPPs, a 30 year public transport plan, and a proposal to provide NSW with low-carbon electricity are just some of the ideas that were put forward and debated at the inaugural NSW – Reclaiming 1st symposium.

NSW Business Chamber’s campaign, NSW – Reclaiming 1st, gathers the best and brightest from business, academia and the community to put forward the ideas needed to get NSW back on top.

The symposium looked at ways to improve infrastructure across the State, while future events will focus on reinvigorating the economy, reducing the burden on business, and reforming government.

“The forum was about looking at possible solutions to redress NSW’s infrastructure backlog,” said Patricia Forsythe, spokesman for the NSW: Reclaiming 1st campaign.

“The discussion is very timely, given the recent Federal Budget allocated to NSW one quarter of the infrastructure budget, despite the fact NSW represents one third of the national economy.

“There is no question that historically NSW has been short-changed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission, which is partially responsible for our infrastructure backlog.

“But it’s clear the State Government needs to lift its game to ensure the people of NSW get the infrastructure they need and deserve.

“We intend to canvass the idea of a SOCOG inspired and Federally-backed body to turbo-charge infrastructure investment.

“The business community is committed to advancing policy solutions which would see NSW regain its position as Australia’s leading State for business and investment.”

Forsythe said that expert guest speakers canvassed issues including:
  • Supporting alternative models for financing infrastructure
  • Streamlining the planning system
  • Implementing a State-wide transport development strategy
  • Securing the State’s energy and water supplies
“This is about harnessing the capabilities of the private and academic sectors to tackle the great challenges of our times, such as reducing urban congestion, boosting housing availability, and ensuring water and energy supply for generations to come.”

Forsythe said that following the discussion, and the three further symposiums between now and November, NSW Business Chamber would develop a reform agenda which it will take to the Government and Opposition to influence policy in the lead-up to the next state election.

NSW Business Chamber represents over 22,000 businesses and is affiliated with 119 chambers of commerce throughout NSW and the ACT.

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