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Major projects such as the Pacific Highway upgrade are set to benefit from the NSW Government’s record infrastructure investment.
Major projects such as the Pacific Highway upgrade are set to benefit from the NSW Government’s record infrastructure investment.

Infrastructure takes centre stage in state budget

The aggregates and construction materials industry has welcomed a state government’s recent budget announcement, which features a record infrastructure funding commitment.

The New South Wales 2015–16 Budget, which was unveiled last week, focused heavily on developing the state’s infrastructure, with government press releases referring to it as the “strongest in the nation” and the “biggest congestion-busting budget in NSW history”.

The last claim referred to the NSW Government’s commitment to invest $16.5 billion in the state’s public transport and road network over the next 12 months. Some of the projects that were allocated funding from this investment included the Sydney Metro Northwest rail system, the Light Rail, the WestConnex motorway and the Pacific Highway upgrade.

“The 2015–16 Budget reinforces the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to unclog crippling congestion and get people home sooner,” NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird announced that $590 million would also be allocated to fast track a number of key state infrastructure projects and ensure that they would be “shovel ready” when the first phase of the Rebuilding NSW plan had reached completion.

The plan, which was announced in June 2014, proposed to lease 49 per cent of the NSW electricity network to private companies in order to free up $20 billion in capital for the state’s infrastructure program.

“These [electricity leasing] transactions won’t start taking place for many months, and we don’t have time to wait for the money to land, so that is why we are unlocking this funding early to get started,” he explained.

NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the $590 million funding would allow for faster economic assessments, detailed designs and planning work so that the NSW Government’s commitments would be ready to proceed quickly once the electricity network transactions were finalised.

Budget welcomed by industry

Todd Hacking, Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia’s NSW state director, congratulated the NSW Government on its record $68.6 billion investment in infrastructure over the next four years.

“This record infrastructure investment is kickstarting the NSW economy, creating jobs and improving the quality of life for NSW residents,” he said. “The unprecedented $38 billion to be spent on roads and public transport projects will ease congestion and improve productivity.”

Acknowledging the funding committed towards the acceleration of the state’s infrastructure program, Hacking added, “This decision sends a positive message to the building and construction industry that this government is serious about tackling the infrastructure backlog.”

Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) NSW director Mark Goodsell also praised the state budget’s focus on infrastructure.

“Today’s NSW Budget is a credible plan for building the state’s productive capacity and laying the foundations for stronger economic growth in the longer term,” he said. “Ai Group commends the government’s commitment to a strong infrastructure program, which is critical to improving productivity and enhancing the competitiveness of the NSW economy.”

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Monday, 21 May, 2018 03:28pm
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