Why an infrastructure strategy?
Investment in strategic infrastructure underpins the NSW economy and improves the lives of people right across the State. Providing the right infrastructure, at the right time, in the right places, and in a way that represents best value for money and a sustainable use of resources is one of the NSW Government’s top priorities.
The link between sound infrastructure investment and a growing, productive State economy makes for a successful, healthy society. Infrastructure networks enable people to gain access to jobs and prosperity. They enable services to be provided and goods to be delivered to local and global markets.
Over the next two decades NSW will be facing significant challenges for infrastructure delivery, meaning that any strategy for the future must be planned with the following in mind:
- Some two million more people will live in NSW, of whom three-quarters will settle in Sydney needing jobs, housing, transport and services;
- NSW, the largest and most diversified economy in Australia, is predicted to grow by 70%;
- The links between NSW and the global economy will be even closer;
- Businesses, people and communities will need to connect efficiently and safely;
- NSW and Sydney must remain liveable and productive places that attract talented people and businesses given the ongoing role of services in the economy;
- The mining sector’s role in regional employment and development will increase;
- The unpredictable rates of change and potential disruption from new technology will only increase; and
- Competition for public capital will continue to be strong.
Well-connected and resilient infrastructure networks will therefore be even more important over the coming decades. The economic success of NSW will rely on the ease with which ideas, people and goods can connect.
In July 2011, the Liberals and Nationals established an independent advisory body, Infrastructure NSW, to advise the NSW Government on the best course to take to meet the infrastructure needs of NSW.
Established under the Infrastructure NSW Act 2011, Infrastructure NSW provided its recommended 20-year plan to the Government on 3 October 2012. Its report included 70 formal recommendations for reform or project priorities.
In December 2012 the O’Farrell-Stoner Government responded to this report with the State Infrastructure Strategy. This sets out infrastructure projects and initiatives that the Government will prioritise for the short, medium and longer terms (0-5 years, 5-10 years and 10–20 years).
It will be the basis for partnering with the private sector, the Australian Government and local government to meet the infrastructure needs of the community and grow the NSW economy.
How are the NSW Liberals and Nationals delivering?
The Government’s State Infrastructure Strategy supports 59 of the 70 recommendations made by Infrastructure NSW and sets out a pathway for these to be delivered.
Over the next four years, the Liberals and Nationals will deliver almost $61.8 billion worth of infrastructure investment. This is equivalent to more than $8,000 for every person in NSW, or ten times the cost of the 25 year Snowy Mountains Scheme.
Already the Baird-Grant Government is getting on with delivering the direction set by the strategy, with major decisions made on key infrastructure projects across the state:
- WestConnex will be a 33km extension to Sydney’s motorways – extending the M4, linking to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and duplicating the M5 East.
- The North West Rail Link, a 23km line servicing one of the state’s biggest growth corridors, will reduce car trips by 14 million per year, and will include eight new stations and commuter car parking for 4,000 cars.
- The South West Rail Link will deliver 11.4 kilometres of new rail lines and two new train stations at Edmondson Park and Leppington.
- The CBD Light Rail Line will be able to move more than 9,000 people per hour in each direction and will see at least 220 fewer buses per hour in the City Centre during the morning peak hour traffic.
- The completion of the Pacific Highway duplication will reduce travel times by a further 50 minutes and reduce the average number of crashes by approximately 150 per year.
- The Bridges for the Bush program will see 17 priority bridges replaced or upgraded across the State, which will improve road freight productivity and open up 11 bridges to higher mass limit vehicles.
- 21 major projects worth $2.2 billion are underway to renew health infrastructure and expand services in hospitals and health centres.
- The newly planned Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment facilities will include Australia’s largest exhibition space at 40,000 square metres, the biggest meeting room space in Australia at 8,000 square metres, over more than forty rooms, and the biggest Australian convention capacity holding over 12,000 people.
For further information on the State Infrastructure Strategy visit the NSW Government website at http://www.nsw.gov.au/state-infrastructure-strategy.
A copy of the State Infrastructure Strategy is available for download at http://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/pdf/State-Infrastructure-Strategy.pdf