The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will unlock $20 billion in infrastructure funding, including $6 billion for regional NSW, by undertaking a long-term lease of 49 per cent of the “poles and wires” network businesses, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced today.
For Sydney, the centrepiece of the plan will be a new Sydney Rapid Transit line, including a second Harbour rail crossing and extending the North West Rail Link through the CBD and beyond to Bankstown.
In the regions, among other projects Rebuilding NSW will support a Regional Roads Fund and a Regional Water Fund, each worth at least $1 billion.
“Rebuilding NSW will turbocharge productivity and improve the daily lives of families right across the state,” Mr Baird said.
“We all know we live in the greatest state in the greatest country on earth, but we also know, as a community, that a number of significant challenges have built up over time.
“Our roads and rail networks, our schools and hospitals, and our water infrastructure have not kept up with our growing population.
“Now we are seeing the consequences, particularly in the area of transport.
“Both our quality of life – the time we are able to spend with family and friends – and the productivity of our workplaces is suffering.
“Unlike NSW Labor, I am simply not prepared to let these problems fester, so that they drag down our economy and pose even greater challenges for our children and grandchildren.
“Infrastructure NSW will now be asked to re-cast the State Infrastructure Strategy, ensuring that every corner of the State benefits from Rebuilding NSW – including the Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra.”
Mr Baird said highlights of Rebuilding NSW, in addition to Sydney Rapid Transit and the Regional Roads and Water Funds, include:
- Sydney Roads Renewal, which will include two new WestConnex extensions to the north and south, as well as projects to support the Northern beaches and inner west;
- A Schools and Hospitals Building Fund, worth at least $2 billion;
- A Sports and Cultural Fund worth at least $2 billion.
Mr Baird said Rebuilding NSW would be funded through a 99-year lease of 49 per cent of the state-owned network companies.
Strict conditions on the lease would include:
- All net proceeds will be invested in new productive infrastructure;
- Electricity network prices will be discounted by 1 per cent off the forecast regulated prices until 2019;
- The jobs of permanent award employees will be protected and treated consistently with previous transactions;
- The transaction will have no adverse impact on electricity reliability; and
- The regional presence of the network businesses will be maintained.
“Over the next 10 months, get ready for the mother-of-all scare campaigns on electricity prices to be unleashed by the unions and NSW Labor,” Mr Baird said.
“I am in the business of implementing policies that will reduce electricity bills for NSW families, and I am proud of the record of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government in putting an end to the crippling annual double-digit price rises that occurred under Labor.
“The scare campaign being unleashed by Labor and the unions simply isn’t backed up by facts – network prices have been more than 100 per cent higher for NSW’s publicly owned system than in the privately-owned Victorian or South Australian networks.”
Mr Baird said that, in line with the NSW Liberals & Nationals commitment before the 2011 election, the plan would be taken to voters at the next election before any action was taken.
For more information, and to have your say, go to: www.rebuilding.nsw.gov.au