Industry applauds NSW Budget heavy on infrastructure
Among the big winners in the NSW government's pre-election budget is infrastructure, with Treasurer Andrew Constance announcing on Tuesday (17 June) almost $405 million being set aside for various projects including a light rail system and motorway in western Sydney.
Constance said $400 million would be allocated for construction of stage one of a new Parramatta light rail system, along with a $4.6 million feasibility study for a new M9 motorway running from Hawkesbury to Camden.
When announcing future infrastructure spending plans – including those for West Connex and North West Rail Link – Constance also took the opportunity to spruik the benefits of Premier Mike Baird's election policy of the lease of 49 per cent of the state's electricity assets.
"We now seek to implement the policy position of Bob Carr, Michael Egan, Morris Iemma and Michael Costa to release the value in the electricity distribution network," he said.
"This will now clear Labor's infrastructure backlog and accelerate projects that will get the state moving."
Industry: a pragmatic funding and spending approach
Ai Group voiced its approval of Budget policy, with NSW Director Mark Goodsell calling it "solid and forward-looking", in a statement.
"(The Budget) is strong on building infrastructure and supporting growth, at the same time, it highlights the opportunities that are being missed until value from the State's electricity network is unlocked," he said.
"We commend the NSW government for driving investment in infrastructure. This will add significant value across the state economy, given its importance in lifting productivity and its potential for substantial flow-on effects for businesses in the State's manufacturing, services and construction sectors.
"However, the State's ambitions on infrastructure are clearly constrained until capital can be released from the electricity network. This underlines the good sense in the government's proposals for the electricity network to be taken to next year's state election.
"This reform is long overdue and represents the best opportunity to fund a sustained increase in infrastructure investment while also applying downward pressure on electricity prices.
"Quality spending initiatives in regional infrastructure are particularly welcome, including the extra funding for health infrastructure, water security and road upgrades.
"These new investments will pave the way for a boost to productivity, employment and economic growth in regional NSW."
NSW budget's infrastructure spending:
- $400 million in money reserved for the Parramatta Light Rail
- $3.8 billion over the next four years for the West Connex, including $1.5 billion in federal government money. The total cost of the motorway, to be partly built with private sector money, is now put at $14.9 billion, up from $11.5 billion in 2011-12 dollars
- $5.2 billion over the next four years for the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link
- $2.8 billion to 2024 for the Next Generation Rail Fleet
- $1.6 billion to 2019 for the light rail line from Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford
- $1.2 billion over 15 years for the Opal Card system
- $5.8 billion in major upgrades for the Pacific Highway (including federal money)
- $681 million in Princes Highway funding, $557 million in Western Sydney Growth Roads and $359 million in Greater Western Highway and Bells Line of Road upgrades
- Western Sydney roads to support Sydney's second airport at Badgerys Creek ($1.4 billion)
Read the full transcript of the 2014 NSW Budget Speech
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