Major NSW projects such as the Beaches Link and the Parramatta Light Rail could be shut down after a major report showed they would become increasingly complex and expensive.
Most important points:
- Report says government cash flow has been stretched by COVID-19
- Infrastructure NSW has made a total of 113 recommendations
- Labor shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the government appeared to be delivering on its promises
The NSW government’s independent infrastructure body said “mega projects” such as the Beaches Link, Parramatta Light Rail, the M6 motorway, a Blue Mountains tunnel between Katoomba and Lithgow, major dams and future stages of the Sydney Metro should be suspended until favor of smaller projects that provide “high payback periods”.
In its five-year strategy, released today, Infrastructure NSW argued that it would become increasingly difficult for the NSW government to deliver complex multi-billion dollar projects due to labor shortages and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“Construction industry capacity, supply chains and skills have all been pressured by COVID-19 and other global events,” the report said.
“The main challenge would be to deliver additional mega projects in a cost-efficient way in the coming years.”
Infrastructure NSW, however, recommended a proposal to raise the wall of the Warragamba Dam, as planned, to protect the low-lying suburbs of Sydney’s northwest from flooding.
Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW government remains committed to all of its projects but hinted that some could be delayed or delayed.
“The NSW government remains committed to all projects,” he said.
“We must now consider Infrastructure NSW’s advice regarding how we rank our record infrastructure pipeline in the face of extraordinary global headwinds.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Minister Paul Toole echoed the sentiment.
“We know how major major projects such as dams and roads can be for regional communities, and the NSW government remains committed to completing these projects,” said Mr Toole.
But Labor shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey said it appeared the government was preparing to dump its key promises.
“These are projects that had already passed the government’s own assessment processes for both need and affordability,” he said.
“The fact that the government is now going back on its own promises raises serious questions about how this government selects projects and how the government plans to pay for them.”
“These communities deserve clear answers from the government as to why these projects are shutting down.”
Infrastructure NSW made a total of 113 recommendations, including improving the state’s long-term water security through the introduction of recycled drinking water.
The report also called for the government to continue its “asset recycling” program, which privatizes state properties to fund new projects.
And it said private sector investment would be critical to the state’s future provision of infrastructure and services.
“The government must continue to implement successful policies such as asset recycling, user charges and value capture to support its infrastructure investment pipeline,” the report said.
“It should also seek more private sector co-investment and increased support for long-term programmatic financing from the Commonwealth.”
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